Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wet Socks - 2012 - Soaking Wet


Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="https://wetsocks.bandcamp.com/album/soaking-wet"
  • 5 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Asleep With The Tv On
Impressions
THEY SOUND LIKE THEY’RE PLAYING LIVE. WHAT? LIVE. THEY SOUND LIKE THEY’RE PLAYING LIVE. LIVE? YEAH, LIVE… that’s the pretend conversation I’m having with my friend because WET SOCKS are playing and we’re right in front of the speaker.
That’s the only way to enjoy this garage EP. If you’re not in the right mindset you won’t enjoy it, like punk before punk became sissies whining about their feelings. The lo-fi is subtle but all there: megaphone vocals, slightly revolting drums, and of course chippy quality. It worked because lyrics don’t matter at this point. If I really cared to listen to them I would, but it doesn’t matter. I just know I heard the word “girl” about 15 times. All in all, this is fun, and a 5/5 for me means I can listen to the set over and over again without substantial weak spots. Not only that, but I’m going to keep listening to this one after it goes on up the page.
Having a crappy week? Throw it on the record player, because it certainly sounds like vinyl. And because this twisted puppy only has 5 tracks, I’m going to go ahead and walk you through it:
1st – that’s the live sound I was yelling to my friend about earlier. Even though it’s the weakest track, it’s sort of like, "here, have some sound; I need to throw out anyway. Do whatever you want with that. This is just a thesis."
2nd track – nothing but smiles here. I’m happily angry at my summer. No school, but it was always more… fun than it is right now. My expectations weren’t high and I’m still disappointed. I hate growing up.
3rd – Who has seen Pulp Fiction? This is John Travolta driving in the night when he’s high on heroin. Right turn, left turn, it’s all the same. The guitar solos don’t sell this song short either. Follow them and they take you down a winding, endless road. Honestly, it just sounds really cool.
4th – the most beach sounding track. As it turns out, that narrow road went through a tunnel road, and we emerged at the site of a beach bonfire. As it is, the air feels sweet. Sneakin’ around stood out like a lollipop and it’s a special track for me because of the chorus. It’s so damn swift and a change of pace I wish it was played again… and again. It ends with what sounds like passing out.
5th – we stayed at the beach all night and the sand is starting to get annoying instead of fun to step on. I just wanna crash indoors, could be a couch. I don’t care. Who’s driving? Where are my keys? There they are. Let’s do this again sometime.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Backyard Ghost - 2014 - Descantece


Dark Ambient
[FOR FREE]
<a href="https://sombresoniks.bandcamp.com/album/desc-ntece"
  • 8 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Adrift , The Premature Burial
Impressions
Backyard Ghost's album is definitely not for the faint-hearted. If I didn't experience a "dark" (black metal&co) phase about 10 years ago, I might have hesitated to hit play on certain tracks, and probably considered them blasphemous as my sense of foreboding grew stronger. But Descântece (Romanian term meaning "incantations") is a mild, yet disturbing dark ambient album, having the supernatural as a prevailing theme: ghosts, burials (and premature ones at that), haunted forests, spirits and rituals. Releasing a mere 8 days before Halloween must have been a joy to "ritualists" everywhere.


Interesting enough, the artist is not Romanian. He did use Romanian titles and the album cover features a Transylvanian castle. When asked about his interest in Romania, he confesses: “I Guess I Am Interested In Romania, Eastern Europe And Its Folklore, I Have A Good Friend From Romania As Well And Wish To Honor Her…” 


The album’s second track, The Premature Burial is similar to Negură Bunget's atmospheric track Primul Om, (probably the most famous Romanian black metal band) as far as the bright, symphonic, positive moment of epiphany is concerned; even mentioning these words - epiphany, positive - is blasphemous to Backyard Ghost and to this genre. But I never really understood the meaning nor the need of these bright parts in this context. I assume they're trying to bring some balance to the troubled, abyssal tunes. Nonetheless The Premature Burial's brief epiphany-moment gets altered by the excessive use of the resonance effect of the analog synth. I would have preferred a more extended 4:16 part and less resonance effect (that reminded me too much of Jean Michel Jarre). Apart from that, it is one of the most melodic tracks on the album, along with Adrift. Hoia Baciu refers to a Transylvanian forest famous for its "paranormal activity". If Backyard Ghost used field recordings for this track (and he probably did), they were taken from this forest, to our excitement and terror, while the ending track of the album, Stafie (Romanian term meaning "ghost"), portrays the perfect outro taken from a horror movie. 


The track titles may make your skin crawl, so I will refrain from going deeper into that. After some time I became interested in how much the artist “means” with his work. How serious he seems when he composes something like “You Drew A Star And I Drew A Circle”. A friend of mine (interested in this genre) shared his insights with me: “I see things as a performance, an act. There are some radical bands, too, but they wouldn’t leave prison anytime soon”. Performance it is, then. 
A few more words about the artist: Backyard Ghost really enjoys using ellipses when describing his music, indicating uncertainty, unfinished thoughts and probably mystery. However, the song titles here and in dark ambient as a whole tend to leave subtlety at the door, with titles such as The Premature Burial, Neglected Spirits, First Signs of Infection, trying so hard to evoke a sense of dread, and terror, that they remove any sense of mystery. Even though these titles suit their respective tracks, leaving a little something to your listener's imagination goes a long way. 

On the contrary, Backyard Ghost, when asked to describe the message conveyed by his music, he cites the opposite effect: “I Usually Let My Musical Works Speak For Themselves… And Let The Listener Use Their Imaginations, Like Reading A Good Book… To Conjure Images And Deeper Meanings To The Sounds.


I'm not that type of person who listens to music on max, but for the Backyard Ghost's rich sound texture I made an exception. No one will blame you anyway,as your neighbours might be more inclined to associate the dissonant drones with some bird trapped in their air shaft, rather than the music you listen to.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Borrachera - 2014 - The Basement Sessions


Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://borrachera.bandcamp.com"
  • 4 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Pukake
Impressions
Sometimes my listening habits outside the blog will greatly influence what hits off with me more than I'd think (See last summer's synthwave obsession, and the upcoming Those Gulls). And the surprise (to me) release of a new DFA1979 has gotten me in the mood for drum and bass duos, and boy are Borrachera (as the band puts it “Borrachera: Spanish noun; Drunkenness. English verb: Two piece Rock 'n' roll from Edmonton Ab”) doing it for me. It's not exactly dance music, swapping dance floors for filthy mosh pits, but it's pretty groovy doom/sludge rock that you could probably shake your ass to in a club all things considered. Probably closer to a dirtier Young Widows or a Nick Oliveri-led QOTSA though, and by god is that sweet sound to my ears. The title is aptly apparent from the get go, as the recording is rough as hell; the vocals a jumble in the mix (and they're not 'clean' vocals to begin with, making them even more cryptic at times), and it sounds like a band playing in a closet. Of course, the instruments do sound quite good with that in mind (grimy as all get up, but sludge works better that way, no?). Honestly, even if the name is truth to power on this EP, it helps. I hope the band follow through on rerecording these for their upcoming album, but don't lose that dank, wet basement sound too much. It adds to the appeal for me. Giving everything a spit shine would really be of detriment to the rock music dragged-from-a-swamp thing these guys have got going on here. Two guys, a bass, drums, and some growling can go a long way when they put their minds to it, and Borrachera certainly do. 

edit: This was written just days before the band's new album dropped, and I'd like to thank the guys for putting Sessions back on their bandcamp page. Check out Basement Sessions while it's back for a limited time, and give their album a go if you dig what you're hearing. I know I will be. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Orange Aurora - 2014 - Orange Aurora


Dream Pop
[FOR FREE]
<a href="https://orangeaurora.bandcamp.com/album/orange-aurora"
  • 7 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Friends
Impressions
Self-titled releases should be strong. They imply that an artist is comfortable enough with a release that they want to sign it with their own name, by not signing it. An artist or band is saying, “This is me”, and “I’m going to put it all on this album” (yes, in those exact words); unless you’re Led Zeppelin and have four consecutive self-titled albums, named by the public. But that’s besides this simple point. On the official Led Zeppelin DVD (2003) Robert Plant said it best: “I think albums are the true statement of a group’s work”, and explains they depict what a group’s been up to over a period of time. Blah, blah, right? None of this is news. But I thought I’d give some background and basis for what I’m about to say: when I see a self-titled release, I get especially excited and intrigued, because it takes confidence through a sense of identity. I’d never heard of Orange Aurora, but thought this was a nifty place to start. Again, none of this is ground breaking or an unpopular opinion, but what good is a blog if you don’t know a little bit about me? I’m a simple man. I pushed play.

Whether or not the bass on my headphones has slowly deteriorated into an unnoticeable level or the beanie I’m wearing absorbs any luscious low ground which I so precariously yearn for, the treble seems jacked. Guitar notes whistled with that overdrive flutter constantly, but I loved it. This album is a stoner’s dream. The type of stoner that really doesn’t care about life if he’s not stoned, and doesn’t care to notice when he is stoned. The kind that finds comfort in a two chord progression that is Second Glimpse (which I noticed is like a sequel to February, the opener). This entire album is shoegaze, and my favorite kind too, pop shoegaze.The quiet tracks are relaxing at their core, with some nice sampling in Victoria (For a chill and similar style song that reminds me of the closer, see: Weed Demon by Wavves). The vocals are indiscernible and full of flow, actually perfect for this album. Best tracks are 2, 4, and 5, with 2 being self-titled. Seagulls and white foam blend and resonate from the self-titled track, which I would agree should be the featured track.

If you stay up at night held hostage to unpleasant memories or thoughts, this is your album. Let the sweet chords and lead melodies zone you out. Obviously it’s not 5/5 for me, but it goes beyond what could’ve been done differently. I’m not sure, it wasn’t quite unique enough. Honestly, it pains me that I can’t give it a 5, and will undoubtedly be the best 4 I’ve reviewed. It sounds terrific as a close-your-eyes-and-forget set, but the songs are partly forgettable, as beautiful as they sound. So, I wouldn’t recommend picking apart style or anything else, but “this is really enjoyable” is an understatement. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dick Fist - 2014 - Dick Fist


Grindcore
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://dickfistnoise.bandcamp.com/releases"
  • 6 songs to download
  • For free
  • Direct Download
  • Listening recommendations:
Impressions
It took longer to write this review than it did to listen to this EP all the way through. Twice. Now, I warn you, this music is abrasive and raw and all kinds of not very nice. If words like 'grindcore' and 'power violence' in music make you shake your head, this probably would be a good time to go read Georgi's All India Radio review (Do that anyway). It's two people (they only have initials on the site) screeching into the mics and playing as hard and fast as they possibly can. They also try to use shock value as a blunt object on the listener (the cold opener about Jesus sounding like some kind of wildlife documentary is a humourous touch). The lyrics are as ridiculous as one would imagine two teenagers giving the middle finger verbally would be, telling punks, punk rock and, well, pretty much everyone else to fuck off over and over again over the span of three or so minutes. Normally, I'd abhor this EP and the snotty nonsense brutalizing my eardrums, but this must have just caught me at the right time, because I enjoyed it rather a lot. Everything sounds a bit rough, vocals, guitars, drums, all a bit dirty really. About the only thing that doesn't is the opening clip about Jesus and the shootout interlude. Not that it matters, they're competently played – the rough around the edges sound is most likely intentional – and so fast you won't even notice until it's gone. It may be shallow, and silly, but there's enthusiasm in Dick Fist (a phrase you do not want to repeat in front of Grandma I assure you) and you can hear it. There's an interlude damn it. An interlude in a record that's barely 3 minutes long (and it's the 2nd last track!) The tongue is so firmly in cheek it may burst through.

So I suggest taking a couple minutes of your day and thrashing your head around to Dick Fist.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cartoon Monster - 2013 - Loves EP


Folk
[FOR FREE]
<a href="https://cartoonmonster.bandcamp.com/album/loves-ep"
  • 6 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Windowsill
Impressions
Cartoon monster is a scientist with a musical lab in his bedroom. Wanna know something else? It feels like he’s tired of music, a Frankenstein-esque creator yearning for peace. But until then, he’s forced to doodle electronically. I’ve been familiar with his work for a couple of years now, and it’s usually easy listening, but loves EP sounds a bit possessed. It’s like I’m in a colorful house with tons of wheels, gadgets, and toys; but the house is empty and every room holds a different track. A little weird, a little looney, but that’s the appeal. The door is wide open, and this is what to expect from him.

Because of that, every song gets right to the point. Even though I’d consider it pop, loves is a unique diary, with no intention to sound happy, but more of a pop culture satire. These tracks, mostly having acoustic guitar and some sort of synth layer, are tied down by an exhausted vocal track. You’ll know what I mean. While only being 6 tracks long, I’m not sure how to feel about this set. I’m not sure how to describe its message or tone. It sort of just is. Leaves just as easily as it comes, but you’ll remember it. His signature tea kettle whispering is found in circus din, and glowing growing is sounds like an acid trip at a circus (as if they weren’t frightening enough). For those that just want to take a peak, I’d suggest salish sea. It’s a calm tune that sounds like it was recorded in a bathtub down by the seaside.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

All India Radio - 2014 - Red Shadow Landing (Demo Versions)


Ambient-Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://allindiaradio.bandcamp.com/album/red-shadow-landing-demo-versions"
Impressions
All India Radio's demos are not just another episode of ”How it's made”, where listeners get to assess the various musical lines and textures before they are moulded into the final mix. There's more than that: I came across the ”Demos better than the finished product” dilemma, as they bear the original rough spark of inspiration. And it's not just me; Martin, the band's guitarist confesses that he sometimes likes them more than the proper album - reason why he has decided to release them 2 months ago.

Freed from the focus on details & alterations perceived as improvements the demos unveil the authentic stream of inspiration - a most diverse one, I must say, as it gathers and unifies styles of various artists, such as Helios (Keith Kenniff), Badalamenti, Boards of Canada or even David Gilmour. Despite the diversity of the blended tendencies, the album's tight integrity is yet a mystery to me.
Badalamenti's eerie suspended arpeggios from Golden demo 2 intertwined with the post-rock-ish The Original (both demos), the reckless Owlpacas in Flight mingled with the celestial and out of this world tunes of The North Sky, but especially the Gilmour-ish tracks ”Don't Leave”, the highlights of the album, all these styles enrich Red Shadow Landing in a particular way.

Why Red Shadow Landing? To give you a hint: Martin has an impressive collection on tumblr of space related images, scanned from magazines and books.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Killbutton - 2009 - Killbutton EP


Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://killbutton.bandcamp.com/album/killbutton"
  • 4 songs to download
  • For free
  • Direct Download
  • Listening recommendations: My Karma
Impressions
It's time to look into the future. That's right, readers, let's look to the future, all the way to the year two thousand.... and nine, because that's when Killbutton's eponymous EP dropped (and recently popped up in our scouring of bandcamp oddly enough). Though it's been 5 years since Killbutton got together to make rock music, this four track EP still holds up extremely well today, mainly because it doesn't sound like what passes for 'rock' in a mainstream sense today. If I'm honest, it sounds like a band channeling a 90's alternate rock sound through a 2010's lens; 'My Karma' reminds me a lot musically of Ænima/Undertow-era Tool for instance (just listen to that intro and tell me I'm wrong), and the other tracks come off as female-fronted Foo Fighters with Grohl behind the kit. The the vocals are straight forward and earnest, and in being so come up a sounding a little underpowered fronting the harder hitting music behind them (the drummer really gets his moneys worth from the skins). I was waiting for the slyness that Ms. Paz's voice uses quite effectively to erupt into something with emotional edge, but the build up never really comes. It's the same even keel for most of the songs and a real missed opportunity, here on their debut EP (their most recently released record shows they've worked this kink out to a degree). The drumming and guitar are commendable, and are what make this EP worth listening to, which I suggest every one do. It's not the best hard rock you'll hear this year, but it hits upon a weirdly compelling hard rock sound that keeps drawing me back in. Give Killbutton a shot.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

TESA - 2014 - GHOST

   

Punk
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://01110100011001010111001101100001.bandcamp.com"
  • 5 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: H
Impressions
If this is what Punk sounds like in Latvia, I need to get myself on the next plane over there, because GHOST is astounding, and not at all what I expected going in. For one thing, there are no truly discernible lyrics (there are muffled screams buried in the feedback and thunder of 'T' for what it's worth). Not that punk requires them mind you, but most punk records I've listened to since joining wasfuersohr have all tended to fall into a small number of categories, and none of them sound even remotely like this. At least, I've never been to a mall food court that would play this, intentionally. It's not about fart and dick jokes or bringing down the man (at least not outwardly). No, this is, in my humble (Ha!) opinion, punk music that is best experienced with a pair of headphones because it will drawn you in and smother you, in the best possible way I can make that sound. I put it on at work, and it was like the outside world ceased at my headphones. I had gotten to 'S' without even realizing it (and yes still got work done) and had adrenaline running through me. It's heavy without being numbing, and atmospheric without being depressing and dreary. It's got a low end you can feel in your chest (YMMV, depending on speakers/headphones, mind). It comes at you hard, and pummels you just long enough to know when to pull back and let things relax – in so far as one may find drone relaxing (I obviously, do). The more astute among you will realize I haven't really described the instrumentation very much. You get a cookie. I wouldn't help G-H-O-S-T by picking things apart too much, this is a record that one will get the most out of by just turning it on and listening to it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Golden Sun - 2011 - Wine Country

Indie Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://goldensun.bandcamp.com/album/wine-country-2"
Impressions
Some bands might encounter problems finding a balance between music and lyrics. Fortunately, Golden Sun isn't one of them. Their music and lyrics seem to blend right, and although their message doesn't have any deep insights or metaphysical connotations, it does have a vivid feeling and the verve of midsummer fire camps or field trips, shallow, a tad trifling, but fresh and a sound to feel young to. However, this is not the case with the EP's last track, Labyrinth. Labyrinth has an annoying oriental intro with some desperate echoes in the background, progressing in a hard-core indie rock line. The lyrics revolve around love, kisses, holding hands, pictures of past lovers, typical clichés for their age at that time (and there goes the fallacy), but they do it in an original, passionate and quite convincing manner. The trembling, yet confident voice of the lead vocalist is a pure expression of those pseudo-contradictions.
Tour de Franzia is definitely the highlight of the EP, as it perfectly sums up all the other tendencies of the EP while keeping a positive, enthusiastic tone. Very fitting to listen to while watching `Le Tour de France` these days. 
To conclude: one might not know English at all, but still can enjoy Golden Sun's Wine Country, as no separate appraisal of the music/lyrics should or need to be made. The lyrics have no abyssal meaning that need to be deciphered; just enjoy the music, cruising along with the beats. I may be wrong, but, as the song goes: "I could be wrong, I could be wrong, but I don't care."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wasfuersohr Mailbag [June 2014]

Mailbag time! This blog is about free music and bands who take the time to contact me shouldn't be ignored. Lots of interesting music out there, and unfortunately we don't have the time to cover everything. This section is devoted to bands who contacted us and other bands we've found but couldn't write a review for. Click the album picture for the Bandpage.
Impressions

2Nerd - BOSQ:
Chiptunes

I've never liked chiptunes, this is simple fact of life. But damn if BOSQ doesn't change all that. There's just something about this particular EP, it doesn't sound like a gimmick, like someone trying to sound like a videogame soundtrack gone rogue. No, BOSQ is what happens when some takes a Gameboy and makes music from it. It's still twitchy and 8bit, but it sounds so much more.
                             ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nothing But Hope And Passion - Nothing But Spring:
Alternative

This popped into my email just when I needed it most. A compilation album of indie music spanning several different genres (pop, rock, electronic, folk, and so forth) that provided me with a much needed uplifting shot in the arm. I don't bring it out often, but it has staying power and I'll always bring it out when A) I need a pick me up, and B) when it's bright and sunny already because it's infectious.

                             ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Helvetica Syndrome - A Closed Counterform:
Synthwave

Did you really think I'd be bale to go this long without coming across more synthwave that tickled my musically fancy? Well A Closed Counterform is a quick shot of the good stuff, and I do mean quick, this EP is a little over 10 or so minutes of synthesizers and drum machines (especially on Sun of the Sand, oh my!). Yes, I unabashedly like the musical sounds of a made-up version of three decades ago. And you should too. Mulroney be damned!

                             ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

   

Saturday, May 17, 2014

SNOWMINE - 2011 - LAMINATE PET ANIMAL

Ambient Indie Pop
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://snowmine.bandcamp.com/album/laminate-pet-animal"
  • 9 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Beast In Air Beast In Water, Penny, Let Me In
  • If you liked the free record, you can grab a more recent release from their website with an interesting self-publishing/fan-funding concept which I fully support: http://www.snowmine.com/
Impressions
I frequently consider whether I should just make a clean slate with the old albums that were still waiting for reviews and every single time I dig one of these up, I find myself reassured that it would an outright horrible idea to do so. Snowmine is making great music, and is one of those bands where it is unclear to me how they are not more popular, even if they are easily among the best known bands on the blog. Varied and catchy instrumentation that you'll hum and sing along with on your second listen, genuinely interesting and intelligently arranged lyrics and a likeable voice make this a no brainer for anyone remotely interested in the genre. They did an incredibly good job at making all songs feel different, which makes it very easy to keep listening to the album over and over again. If you like this album, I highly recommend downloading the other EPs on their Bandcamp page and add these tracks to your track rotation. Due to that variation, not all tracks are of the same high quality, but the ones that are, are hymns to the emotions in life that make life feel worth living.
Music is best when evoking thoughts, emotions and creativity and Laminate Pet Animal is one of those records which brings me down to earth, lets me dream of the sky and motivate me to get to work on stuff that was neglected for way too long. With that thought, I'll close these impressions and look forward to the next hidden gems that are waiting for me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

octopus! - 2014 - When Will You Stop?


Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://octopus12.bandcamp.com/album/when-will-you-stop"
Impressions
So I went into a weird bit of winter hibernation from my last to about now, and in that time, I didn't get any new music from bandcamp. I ended up putting this review on hold nearly indefinitely until such time as I was able to sit down, tell everything else in the world to go intercourse itself and tackle an album review. Four months hasn't changed how I feel about the album thankfully, which is that the rock and roll showcased on When Will You Stop will keep your fist pumping, head nodding/banging with it's twangy bass guitar lead instrumentals. Octopus! have created a record that fits into the 'I've been looking out for this kind of rock music since I started reviewing', joining a scant few bands whose records I can always go back to again and again regardless of when it is in the year or where I am. There's something to the different layers coming together (like on Спасибо , тебе, за эти берега) that I just feel is very optimistic and uplifting in a way that scuzzy rock music tends not to be. We may all be sweaty and jumping around, but we're enjoying every damn minute of it while Octopus! do their thing. The bass on Shark Attack is simply perfection. It's dirty, ladden with a effects, but it delivers on tongue-in-cheek menace and a sense of cool that I can just wrap myself up in and wear like armour. The drumming can go from standard fair, merely keeping the beat (though in this case, that's no easy task. Things move at a clip) to taking progressive detour fills  (the short interlude on Vulcano, for instance) when the bass decides to stand down for a few seconds. That one person is doing all of this is both mighty impressive (my hat is off to you madame/sir), but also makes a lot of sense. Some of the time changes being thrown around on here would probably leads to a rip in space-time if it someone else had to try and keep the rhythm together. I would occasionally put When Will You Stop? on every now and again over my time away, and every time I wanted to drop everything and sing its praises from on wasfeursohr high. Now I finally can, and have. Get this record.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Moxie - 2013 - Pre-equipped

Experimental
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://moxieproject.bandcamp.com/"
  • 4 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Pre Lone
Impressions
                Moxie is not afraid to be loud, noisy, overlap, or drone. Anyone can hear that within just the first 20 seconds of this set. Random drums blazin’ with distorted keyboard sounds like an obnoxious anthem. This is how we are introduced. With a quick glance at the time of the beginning tracks, I sort of knew I was just expecting groundwork. Something the build on, or being leading with. This helps to not expect a song song but more sound than anything. I like rocky roads, and appreciated the experimentation and unprecedented drums-and-keys. The 2nd track is an interlude of sorts with both drums and a mini soundscape collaborating, ending with an expanded reverberated room sequence. (Funny how much I’m able to talk about just 2 minutes into this.) Then the 3rd track comes in, and at last there is order in the musical hall. But it’s more than order, it’s the most pure and peaceful computer created song I’ve heard. I felt genuinely happy to play around with these bright keyboard strokes; and I also felt relieved that there’s more to this slightly chaotic computer banter. (Listen to Great Bay Shrines by Sweet Valley. Same idea.) But it is obvious where the climax is. Any Breaking Bad fans in the building? You will love the closer. I could go on about how great the scene that’s sampled is, hell, I could go off on how great the entire series is; but let’s give credit where credit is due. Moxie picked the perfect background to complement this powerful moment in the monster newly created in this show’s protagonist. And even though the Walt’s sample is about a fourth of Baby Holly, the dark tones advertised on the description of Pre-Equipped are left to burn and settle in the air like radiation from a lead acid battery. I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS. Intense goose bumps commence, followed by these dry and cold screeches, necessary drum taps, and my favorite glitch-like computer sounds (see Idioteque by Radiohead). I get drowned by graveyard fog towards the end, and left to be haunted by the dialogue in reverse.
                Because this EP is artificially made, the feedback I’d give would lie in the area of production techniques. While Moxie pans at sometimes, I think panning completely or some ear-to-ear effects at times would heighten the delivery. But that’s about all I have to add. Even though I wasn’t left wanting more exactly, an album of at least 15 minutes with this kind of consistency would definitely get at least 4/5 from me.


Dear Moxie, make more.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ruben Lozano - 2014 - The Astronaut Nocturnes

Classic Instrumental
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://rubenlozano.bandcamp.com/album/the-astronaut-nocturnes"
  • 4 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Any of them
Impressions
The third time we featured this musician here, and its also the third time we find ourselves not disappointed. Classically instrumentalized music usually has a hard standing among the broader masses (unless you are happen to be born with the name Bach, Mozart or Smetana and have access to a 100 man orchestra), but Ruben Lozano has a way of weaving modern elements into his classical pieces, making them feel fresh and inspirational in a way that manages to touch a wider audience. The Astronaut Nocturnes are a different take on the same space theme that he already explored in The Astronaut. However, where his previous LP was created as an imagining of the sound of exploring the vastness and grandeur of space, Nocturnes is a more sober look on things, the night after if you will. Instead of being overwhelmed by celestial bodies, it is the sound of reminiscence. Memories of great, historical or personal moments, lingering in the air, intermingling with the dust that settled between the old and ancient records of discoveries past. This nocturne is not a dark one, the memories of the astronaut are valuable to him, worth being treasured and given to us as a record of his exploration and experience.
Nocturnes might not be as grand as The Astronaut was, but dont deserve the smaller emotions in life just as much appreciation for not freezing us constantly in awe if we were showered in amazement constantly? Highly recommended, and I am betting on Ruben Lozanos next outing not being disappointing either. Anyone betting against me?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Monroe Johnson & The Cloudhanger Band - 2011 - What's the Dream Now, Kitty?

Pop/Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://monroejohnson.bandcamp.com/"
  • 6 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Lights Off Main, Little Heaven
Impressions
This record proves that we need to allow a wider range of musicians more possibilities to grow. The musical growth and improvement this guy made in his three EPs since 2006 is nothing short of astounding, culminating in his two best songs Lights Off Main and Little Heaven, which are quite frankly among the best songs in the genre I've heard in quite a while. As it happens with most records I review lately, I have this album in my playlist rotation for almost 3 years now and the energy and evocative power these tracks are conveying can be extremely inspiring. Lights Off Main comes together incredibly well, with poetic imagery, a driving instrumentation that supports the change from the somber mood in the beginning to the motivational, powerful and hopeful end of the song, a sound that makes me reminisce and finally wanting to grab at the possibilities life is offering that I might have passed on too much in the past. In contrast, Little Heaven is less subtle in its overall approach and more of an immediately upbeat and uplifting sound that is surprisingly catchy and helped lighting my mood whenever it crossed my ears. Unfortunately the other tracks cant quite keep the same standard, despite Push and When the Wolves Turn in Their Coats still being rather good tracks. The whole record still manages to feel somewhat consistent even with Monroe Johnson trying different approaches in these tracks (for example light country touches in Wolves), but I get the impression he is not equally good at all of these styles.
Full circle, it would be incredibly painful to see such musicians stop making music because they are not noticed and lost in obscurity, especially considering there is still so much unfulfilled potential. Lights off Main could easily stand up there with genre greats from Keane and Coldplay, and the only reason it doesnt is because of a lack of visibility and public interest. If there are smaller bands you love, let others know, scribble their names on your friends facebook walls (or on their foreheads once they start ignoring your messages), create a small music blog to report about your discoveries or even reach out to the bands themselves to tell them that their music is being loved. This review is my way of saying thanks for 3 years of enjoyment and lighted mood, hoping his most recent EP wont stay his last.

Friday, March 7, 2014

TRNT BRNT - 2013 - TRNT BRNT

Math Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://trntbrnt.bandcamp.com/"
  • 6 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: The Rabbit Hunt
Impressions
Ever since I started reviewing releases from a very wide selection of artists all over Bandcamp, I’ve been (obviously) exposed to some pretty interesting genres of music. Sometimes I recognize the genres, and sometimes I don’t. This album fits the former description, and right off the bat TRNT BRNT screams math rock. I don’t listen to math rock myself, but like everything I review, it caught my interest enough to want to talk about it.
First off, let me just say Dance! is a very strong track to open an album with. It’s undeniably catchy without having to hit or strain any high frequencies like the majority of pop songs we can’t seem to avoid. Both bass and lead guitars rip away simultaneously with ear-pleasing lines, and lead to a neat pause-for-a-moment chorus break. It displays good old-fashioned song writing with a math rock twist. Actually, this can be said for all of the songs here. The tapping’s poppy, active, and bright; and this drummer is way past arithmetic, he’s what keeps this so flavorful and entertaining. I would highlight the more unpredictable fills and punchy timing in Tache.
There is no doubt that we’re dealing with a talented band. Some of the riff combos carefully control songs through and out of the fire like the noisy scene in Rabbit Hunt, which sounds like a feeling of unreliable anticipation. So yes, TRNT BRNT has its interesting moments; but it does so without breaking any boundaries. This progressive math style is just on point, and I’m expecting more. I’m currently in a position where there’s not a high chance of me coming back to this album. This album sets up all the right alleys with the cool lead parts but I’m not feeling an oop with something to reel me in. Listenability matters a lot to me, and at times I wish I could get hit in the face more with a jab (like a shout, faster picking parts, anything). The vocals are just, there… and the lyrics are passable. This would probably be more of a hit with me if it was instrumental because it’d be more likely that the song wouldn’t have to adjust for the scattered and almost unnecessary singing on some tracks.
This math pop rock set gets a pass, but I’d love to hear more for these guys, and something with attitude that can catch me off guard. I’m not suggesting that they be fiercer, because it’s not their style, but there’s nothing wrong with showing off if you got it. That’s my challenge..

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Strangelets - 2011 - Summer Forever EP

Dream Pop
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://strangelets.bandcamp.com/album/summer-forever-ep"
  • 9 songs across 2 EPs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: New World, M I Lie, Soul Of Time
Impressions
Another band that shows me that I should devote more time to actually listening to the stuff I bookmark. I grabbed this back in 2011 and the band already made another EP since then. I'd seriously love for them to have more time and money to focus on their music, because they have incredibly great potential and show an interesting array of variety on these 2 EPs, but it is also quite apparent that neither of these EPs shows a completely coherent and consistent concept yet. Both records contain standout tracks that I'll definitely keep in my rotation, for example the rough, bleak and fantastically executed M., I Lie, which evokes a sound reminiscent of the songs of the Bright Eyes, the incredibly dreamy and lovely Soul of Time as a touching love song or Majenusa, which shows their take on a more neutral and catchy Indie Pop style. The problems here however, are that they jump sometimes too harshly between certain styles even if the individual songs are great it itself, with Alumbras being the main offender with a genre and language switch, and that some songs are far from reaching the bar that the above mentioned songs set. Heavy is the Heart, as one example, is neither lyrical nor musically anywhere as interesting as the other tracks, and seems more like a B-Side track compared with the other higher quality songs.
Even with some weaknesses here and there, thankfully the majority of these tracks are interesting, varied, recommendable and highly enjoyable. Nothing is rushed here, every step and sound is carefully chosen to mesmerize the listener and draw them into a world of dreamy pop sounds to soothe the occasional occurence of a heavy heart. Its a shame that bands like Strangelets are having the recognition and publicity issues that they tend to have, but even if this is just a small blog and certainly not much recognition, here is to you and I hope you'll find the time to further improve your craft until you manage to fulfill your potential, which I certainly think you are capable of. *clinks glasses*

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Das Machine - 2014 - Red Sky

Post Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://amachinesdeath.bandcamp.com/album/red-sky-ep"
  • 4 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Ghost
Impressions
It was only a matter of time until bandcamp delivered unto me the first new post rock album of 2014 worth listening to and recommending. I wasn't expecting it so quickly, I freely admit as much, but Das Machine's second release of the year[!] (the first of new material) certainly sets the bar high enough for any other bands in this genre to try and clear. Sadly it's only four tracks, because a full length would be glorious to sit back and revel in. Machine has got the slow burn build-up down to a science, a churning guitar-driven rock and roll science, that may be a deterrent to some, I'm able to plop down and enjoy. Something about the wailing on "Ghost", and the atmospheric, dreamy nature on "Time Turns Tomorrow into Yesterday", with its just barely there AM radio hiss (well until the fade out anyway). I'm a sucker for music that can elicit a bit of nostalgia for reasons unknown, and both those tracks did just that. The first minute or so of "Ghost" paints a desolate picture, that would indeed be punctuated by a red sky, like the ones light pollution here create in the winter. Strikingly beautiful, but in the back of your mind, there's a niggling that something isn't right. That isn't to say the music is somehow 'bad' (I kind of went of the rails there for a minute), far from it. The production is clean, the guitars are allowed to shine and play off each other in a vast post-rock playground while the low end is dutifully heavy - the drumming is all around excellent really - really letting those skins know who's in charge. Of course everyone chills the 'eff out come 1972, the drums are reduced to simple high-hats and bass basically sits back and lets the guitars call out for each other in a vast dark space on this one. Perfect headphone track. Definitely one for fans of the post-rock oeuvre, check out Das Machines Red Sky.
Also, check out the odds and ends record they put out last month if you get a chance, why not. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Floorist - 2013 - Invisible Names EP

Pop
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://flooristmusic.bandcamp.com"
  • 4 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Elixir Vitae
Impressions
This release is very intriguing; and I’d like to review it for its unsettling quality. Now, as with most reviews, I tend to change my opinion about whatever I’m talking about and typically like the album/EP/demo more than when I had made up my mind about it. This is because I get more comfortable around it, and predictability allows for warmer proximity between a listener and music. Such is the case with Invisible Names, and here’s why.
The unsettling quality I had mentioned is ever so in-your-face, it made it almost hard to listen to this all the way through. Its trip-hop and glitchy drum beats made it perplexing and sort of confusing. It’s like being drunk while trying to do math problems in your head. Who wants to do that? However, the appeal slowly settled in, which would be the ambient lo-fi instrumental combo. It’s snug. The chords and riffs played are catchy in a sweet way; and innocent in a Beach House way. The vocals are also pleasantly calming. Will Maimonis has a pretty nice voice, and resembles wind during Spring. The reverb is there, and throw on a lo-fi blanket and you have some pretty lie-down-and-lay-back vocals.
So what’s the problem? It’s when you mix both of them together that things get a little shaky. It’s awkward to follow along to a particular rhythm, which is what is encouraged by the way everything is mixed. The inability to follow along made it a bit frustrating for me to listen to. The reason to listen to Invisible Names is to mellow out, and just enjoy an experimentally poppy drum/guitar combo for a few minutes. Cool in theory.
To wrap this up, I’m all for experimenting, but I don’t consider this to be something I’d listen to on a regular basis. I believe as a composer that Floorist has a lot of potential, but this is so far only an experiment.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Lansbury - 2013 - Everything Went Static

Rock and Roll
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://lansburypgh.bandcamp.com/album/everything-went-static"
  • 10 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: The Instrumentalist
Impressions
When I listen to this, the old SNL 'Bill Brasky' skit about Brasky scissor kicking Angela Lansbury is the first thing that comes to mind, and hell, such an event probably sounded a little something like this (A little ironic I suppose, but more on that later). Everything Went Static is a rock and roll affair of the 'band picks fights with audience' variety. Meaty guitar riffing abound, as Lansbury pound their way through 10 head banging tracks of a stoner rock and roll. One not be a meathead to get a little something from Everything, as while it is hard, fast, and mostly howled in a very straight forward manner, the band both in lyrical content, logo, and album art seem to be shining their light on the terrible TV landscape out there in the real world. Maybe not the most original target in the world, but in this case, I didn't really care what was being yelled in my earholes so long as the music accompanying it was this consistently good. And while the vocals fall into throat shredding territory (of which I'm not usually a fan), I don't think anything else would have worked. No macho crooning, no Nickelback impressions (also thank god, you wouldn't believe the number of records ruined by that). Sing when it's called for, yell at me the rest of the time please. Lansbury also break up the pummelling to try a few different sounds on for size, mainly punk and hardcore. The Instrumentalist say, is a bit punk, a little early Metallica-like thrash (you'll know when that part kicks in). Lansbury have also accomplished something few bands I've come across while reviewing for Wasfuersohr have done, and that's write an LP's worth of material worth listening to from front to back, and in this case still eave me wanting more. Most bands can't fill an EP without my mind wandering off/giving up, but these guys are brandishing these ten tracks like a finely-crafted weapon and they know how to wield them.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CosmicDeal - 2014 - I Miss You

IDM
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://eyesbehinddreamsrecords.bandcamp.com"
  • 4 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Dreams Of Oxygen
Impressions
From beginning to end, I Miss You is a delightful little EP of electronic music from CosmicDeal.
It had me by the sensitive bits right from the get go, what with that cold, emotionless “SOS beacon”-like opening to the record. And from there on out, one track after another hit it out of my musical park. I don't really know what boundaries define 'idm' but apparently this is suppose to fit in them, so take note idm'ers (and naysayers alike). The music does seem to consist mostly of keyboards and drum machine, thankfully it never blends together into a same-y, indistinguishable mish-mash like a lot of dance music. “Dreams of Oxygen” ambiance and dance, while say, “I Miss You” has a chilling lyrical section along sides its more piano-based music. While I'm talking about “I Miss You”, the voice on that song... Eep! The stuff of aural nightmare fuel if you're alone, that's for damn sure. For what it's worth, I truly dislike the opening drum loops on "Leaving" – Drake and Lil Wayne's type of shitty rap music has forever ruined that drum sound for me, which is too bad, because the rest of the song is pretty good - 'guitar riffs' give the track that extra bit of bite that is otherwise missing from the record. Of course now that I've listened to the record a number of times, the overall appeal has waned somewhat, (except the opening track), so I don't know how much shelf life this will have along side its other bandcamp brethren, but for the time being it's still enjoyable, and I think it'll make good headphone listening for you out in the wide world.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Static Brains - 2013 - Demo 2013

Garage Rock
[FOR FREE]
<a href="http://staticbrains.bandcamp.com/"
Impressions
This band has a lot of potential to make enjoyable songs that really rock. How do I know? This demo is a lot of fun to listen to. The riffage in each song stood out to me as a clear reminder that the true spirit of rock is not dead. It really is excellent. I remember the riff from Liars and Fools being stuck in my head as I was getting dressed in the morning (weird, right?). But that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. It has Maiden-esque venom with a garage punk mentality; and plenty of rough head shaking which would make anyone with long hair make it dance. The rest of the songs pretty much follow the same description too. Some more technical than others whether in flaming solos like the one at the end of Bastards and Born Again, and this demo has a groover in the 3rd track, which happens to be my favorite. I love the chorus’s harmonious style incorporated in such a raw mix of distortion. I would like to remind people that it would be even more harmonious if the vocals matched the pitch a little better… but because it’s more of a recording issue, I give the vocalist a pass. A crisper recording of the wails would make this demo really ripe, meaning that’s all I’d recommend for Static Brains to blossom into a band I’d listen to often. Awesome demo.