Friday, January 27, 2012

Organized Konfusion - Self Titled

Genre: Hip Hop

Sounds like: De La Soul, Abstract Rude,

From my previous posts, this may seem a little bizarre to have me talk about early 90's alternative hip hop, but I have a deep seeded love for it. This includes varying types from intellectual "backpack" hip hop like Aceyalone, to "let's see how gnarly we can get with our lyrics" rap from Cage or Immortal Technique, It all has its place in my heart. Trying to trace back where my endearment for rap started, the earliest memory I have was when my mom got Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle and would sing along everyday on the way to kindergarten.

Organized Konfusion blends various aspects of what makes hip hop appealing to me, the ability to blend unique yet catchy beats, (with a little jazz and R&B into the mix) and display thought provoking lyrical content without sacrificing that "hardness" or edge that most people crave in their hip hop. Listening through their discography, the duo, Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch, both have different approaches and rhyme techniques. Pharoahe has been know to have the strangest lyrical patterns and meter of any rapper, with the closest thing I can relate it to is something off of Hella's Devil Isn't Red. He bounces between varying patterns of rhyme and timing, without sacrificing melody. Prince Po generally is the foundation for the songs as Pharoahe is able to dance around the beat, changing the dynamic every verse. The song "Fudge Pudge" demonstrates this, as Pharoahe in one verse creates a flurry of rhythm in a single melody.

Check it out, so you can be a closet hip hop head like me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rivière Amur - Bois Flotté

Genre: Drone, Psychedelic

Sounds like: Deep Magic, earlier Pocahaunted

Bois Flotté is like discovering something unfamiliar through the familiar. An alternate perspective on reality. Side A begins with the familiar sound of the ocean, as meditative chants and slow tonal changes emerge from beneath. Crashing waves decrease in force as if Rivière Amur could calm the most violent of seas. Bells chime in the background, like a hypnotist signaling you in and out of consciousness. Don’t fight it. Forget everything you know and accept this new reality. Approach the world with a naïve eye, as if just born. All knowledge is now a priori. Disassociate objects around you from the names given to them. Focus on the aesthetics: shapes, color, and movement. What do you see? What do you hear? Whispered voices and chirping birds in the background have become nebulous and have fused with the droning soundscape. Familiar sounds have transformed into something new. Something radiant. Don’t fight it. You’re now ready for Side B.

Note: Rivière Amur is a musical collaboration between Belgium’s Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier and Pittsburg’s Inez Lightfoot. Purchase a copy of Bois Flotté from I Had an Accident Records.

Friday, January 13, 2012

2011: How Do You Like Your Emo?

I had a lot of favorites this year, but for me the emphasis was upbeat, fist pumping tunes. Being a year where I ended up back in my hometown, displaced after a five year relationship ending, landing a great new job, living in an awesome house with its own name, joining new bands and just a general sense of self worth, these albums resonated with me but not at the expense of awesome riffs. List in no particular order:

Algernon Cadwallader continues with each release to refine and mature that midwest/IloveCapn'Jazzmorethenyoudo emo sound that
is currently flooding the internet. Most importantly, what Parrot Flies also manages to sneak in a Eddie Money-esque riff on the last track of the album aptly named "Cruisin'".

Battles without avant-garde Tyondai Braxton released Gloss Drop, which turned it into a pop album. More Ian Williams in any fashion is a good thing to me. The featured vocalists on Gloss Drop was also a nice surprise, with every artist taking a different approach to the already eclectic sound.

Zona Mexicana
finally put out their self titled 10-inch in November. 15 minutes of what would happen if Tera Melos collided with Cursed. the only way I can describe them is that they are just wild. pure wild punk rock.(There is post about them on this blog)

Glocca Morra's
Ghoulish Intentions managed to do something I never thought of/seemed possible: a twinkly emo band made a record that sounds like it came off a Mclusky b-side. Made me wish there would be some more Mclusky someday.

The Speed of Sound In Seawater (I like to call them Speedwater) has the technical nerd riffage that gets all the math rock boys in a frenzy, but utilizes the vocalist's youthful and melodic approach that puts them in a bedroom pop space so your girlfriend can get into them just as you do. Immediately personable yet maintains catchiness, their third release, Underwater Tell Each Other Secrets is their best work, and a full length needs to follow.

If I had to pick one album for the year, it would have to be Prawn's You Can Leave It All Behind.

I have listened to this album more then anything else this year so that constitutes album of the year right? For where I was last year and currently, Prawn just caught me on everything. Great sing along riffs while you hug your friends, great post-rock riffs that come straight out of a Mogwai album and lyrics that are not cryptic, (a problem with a lot of these bands) but clear and concise. I generally could care less about vocals/lyrics in a band, but this album changed that. Its 2012 and this is still a constant in my car. I was lucky enough to actually play with these guys this summer, which just sweetens the whole deal.

Please give it all a listen, so you can scoff at how I still listen to bands that talk about problems you had when you're 16 and how they are the same when you are 24.