Reviews


Maths – Descent

Saturday, May 1st, 2010 by Eric Loose

You haven’t heard this before. You may have heard sprawling soundscapes carefully executed. You may have even had the pleasure of hearing a wave, no, a tsunami of furious guitar envelope songs until all that’s left is furious riffs of gargantuan noise. Calculated and technical screamo has been done before. Maths isn’t the first band to provide listeners with caustic riffs and shrill screams that will make your hair stand on end until the next breath of fresh air, in relaxing instrumental form, grants you relaxation.  Nor is this probably the first time you’ve heard hardcore that you find yourself hopelessly lost in, with enough dips and dives to leave you disoriented and dizzy. But let’s get one thing straight here: none of those other bands were Maths. Following a split with fellow English screamo outfit, Throats, Maths gathered enough praise to garner a “who’s who” of bands on the rise by a feature in NME. The natural stage of progression would be for Maths to start touring more regularly, reap more publicity, and basically move up in the business, right? Wrong. Maths drop their label in favor of honing their sound and recording a DIY record it themselves. The result is an enticing, and quite stunning output, Descent. (more…)



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My Heart to Joy – Seasons in Verse

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Savor it. Soak it in, because like the crisp, golden rays of sun on a harsh wintry day, this is golden and warming. Seasons In Verse is a splendid mixture- one part emotional vocals, one part post-hardcore instrumentation. Sound interesting? Well, add that to the fact that Seasons In Verse was La Dispute’s (Michigan post-hardcore extraordinaires) favorite releases of the year. Unencumbered by long-running anthems and instead concentrating on a more refined and niche-focused grand design, My Heart To Joy’s full-length debut is a successful and uplifting testament to the up-and-coming band from Connecticut. And for what it lacks for in variation and originality it certainly makes up for with more aesthetic qualities like beauty and cohesiveness. (more…)



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Morningwood – Diamonds and Studs

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Familiar with those cheesy VH1 help-me-find-‘love’-on-a-reality-TV-show-because-there’s-no-other-possible-way-for-me-to-find-it shows? These reality shows incorporate the washed-up stars whose 15 minutes of fame lasted 15 minutes too long, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy their unfulfilled need for constant attention: Flavor Flav, Bret Michaels, New York, Hulk Hogan, Scott Baio, the list goes on. While these mind-numbing forms of entertainment are absolutely tasteless and offensive, they do please a certain demographic – most likely 13 year old boys who tune in for a chance to see breasts or a catfight, guys sitting on the couch too blazed to change the channel, or people who love television yet have reception that only allows them to view VH1. You may be familiar with one of the latest shows, Daisy of Love, one of the many tasteless offshoots. Coincidentally, Morningwood provides the theme song, “Best of Me.” Sadly, the connections between these two uppermost forms of art do not end there. The previously mentioned demographics are presumably three of the top results that came up on the corporate board meeting drawing board where Morningwood’s latest, Diamonds and Studs, was conceived. Where else would a band with a hot singer, thinly laced sexual references, a witless mildly humorous band name, and talentless music find each other? (more…)



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No Age – Losing Feeling EP

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Losing Feeling – how appropriate. Listening to No Age’s latest EP, I can’t help but think that this title is very telling. Have the “lost feeling?” that attitude that made Teen Creeps such a hit? I certainly hoped not going into their new EP. The No Age I’ve come to know through to full-length albums is one with the layered guitars and stripped down punk influences, most often compared to Sonic Youth, except with the vocals shouted nonchalantly as to say “I don’t give a f*** what you think.”  To tell the truth, despite their lofty predecessors, No Age have done a fine job at filling these gargantuan shoes.  Growing out of the LA art scene, No Age recently toured with Dan Deacon and Deerhunter on the No Deachunter tour. It’s a bit sad in some ways, but Losing Feeling is No Age growing up and maturing. (more…)



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Park – Building a Better ______

Sunday, April 25th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Listening to music rather extensively, it’s natural to develop some bad habits. Personally, I have a habit of holding certain bands to higher standards, especially based on past releases or albums I’ve heard. This became pretty obvious to me with some recent releases. Daisy, by Brand New, was always lingering in the shadow of The Devil And God…, Ursa Major was hard for me to separate from Third Eye Blind’s self-titled. Is this healthy? I’m not sure, but it’s struck me once again with Park, pop-punk extraordinaires.

Let me clarify, Park was a rare, lucky find for me. I can’t take credit for it; it was a recommendation, but I immediately fell in love with the sharp vocals, dark lyrics, and impeccable riffs on It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going. Eventually, I felt content enough with Park to move onto the rest of their discography. Building A Better ______ , their curiously titled 2006 release, was next on my list. Would it have the same effect on me as It Won’t Snow? Well, let’s find out… (more…)



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Rain Machine – Rain Machine

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

“…a nearly full spectrum of frequencies audible to the human ear, a reflection of a

variety of emotions and situations real and imagined – some rhythm some rhyme.”

These words are neither mine nor the overly pretentious garble of a Pitchfork review. This is how Kyp Malone describes first solo release, Rain Machine. Now, this probably sounds just as ambitious and extravagant to you as it did to me, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Kyp is better known as the singer and guitarist of New York’s TV On the Radio. Personally, I didn’t look nearly as favorably on Kyp’s latest release with TV On the Radio, Dear Science,, as their previous Return To Cookie Mountain. However, Dear Science, was backed my a wave of critical acclaim, and it was hard not to see the skill and power behind the album. Kyp Malone uses Rain Machine as a creative outlet to experiment a little further than before, and it shows all the way through to the album cover. Garnered with a drawing that looks like an fanciful fourth-grader was assigned an art project on Africa and got his hands on some crayons, Rain Machine looks like it sounds, complete with rainbows and waterfalls. (more…)



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Pianos Become the Teeth – Old Pride

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

The comparisons are inevitable. A post-rock influenced screamo band with floor-rattling screams… they must be channeling some City of Caterpillar or Envy in there, right? Well, yes and no. Pianos Become the Teeth, a local band out of Baltimore, have created a defining record in Old Pride, but it’s hard to say whether or not they exert enough effort to truly separate and define themselves from their influences. The quintet have found a nice, cozy spot among the complex instrumentation, frenzied screams, and overall feverish nature on Old Pride. While it would be splendid to ramble on about all the things that make Old Pride spectacular, it’s very difficult due to the glaring faults (as small as they may be when compared to the bigger, brighter, not to mention more intense, picture). This is most definitely because Pianos Become the Teeth are capable of a better quality record, and while Old Pride is an undeniably excellent showing, it’s flaws become all the more obvious because of the great potential hiding here. (more…)



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Rinoa – An Age Among Them

Monday, April 19th, 2010 by Eric Loose

A cinematic quality is ever-present on Rinoa’s 2010 release, An Age Among Them. While it’s hard to pin the band under a specific genre, Rinoa elicits feelings altogether epic and uplifting, expansive and heavy. Please excuse the disparate descriptions, but An Age Among Them induces the desire to spew a flurry of adjectives from my mouth, as the album commands interest and enthusiasm. An Age Among Them is certainly not a release to take lightly; it becomes evident mere minutes into “Past Maidens” that Rinoa, for better or for worse, are extremely impassioned. An exuberant listen from beginning to end, An Age Among Them provides the soundtrack to something more than a simple set of emotions. The feelings that Rinoa bring forth are neither simple nor straightforward. Instead, the album provides a rich, complex, borderline cinematic context that provides the album with an interesting quality that sets apart this excellent release from its neighbors. (more…)



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Noah & The Whale – The First Days of Spring

Friday, April 16th, 2010 by Eric Loose

“This is a song for anyone with a broken heart.”

You hear a slow, pounding drum beat off in the distance, and The First Days of Spring begins. With this simple, deliberate beat and the entrancing line, “It’s the first day of spring/And my life is starting over again,” Noah and the Whale set the tone for this monstrous indie epic. Like most great records, The First Days of Spring is an intricate journey, laden with the sounds of towering mountains, deep, convoluted valleys, and the winding streams in between. A maturation of sorts, The First Days of Spring is a graceful expression of the sadness and growth that accompanies heartbreak. (more…)



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The Antlers – Hospice

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Most of my favorite records are what I would call “growers.” While it’s easy to write off records on the first listen, it can be much more gratifying to offer second chances. Sometimes, it doesn’t catch on for a while. Even my favorite record of all time, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea *ahem*, sat gathering dust for years before I gave it a few more tries and began to realize its utter brilliance. I’ll admit, while the Bon Iver comparison surely helped, it was really the graceful, interesting album art that made me want to hear The Antlers’ Hospice. When I sat down and finally gave it a listen, I was sorely disappointed. Hospice was boring. Sad?- sure. But engaging?- not even close. “Wake” dragged on. “Kettering” was a bore. Half the songs felt skippable. As time went on I realized just how wrong I was. It took an embarrassing five or so more listens before I began to feel like an idiot for not realizing the genius and finesse that is embodied with Hopsice. (more…)



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