Monday, September 19, 2011

Bled Correct (Rife Eyesight)

This is a few weeks overdue and I apologize for that - yet I still think it's worth mentioning here on my blog.  The album I want to tell you about is Cymbals Eat Guitars sophomore release Lenses Alien. The band's debut Why There Are Mountains was a 2009 favorite of mine so naturally the follow up was high on my list for the year. C.E.G. is a very polarizing group for a number of reasons - though it is also for these reasons that I, and those who do appreciate them, like them so much. To start with they use very unconventional song structure that may come across as disorganized or cluttered. Their lo-fi stylings and frequent use of distortion can also turn some people off, and finally their singer ; who admittedly has a silly stage-name (Justin Ferocious) can wail and scream and drag his voice in such a way that some might find themselves cringing. Yet for me these quirks give the band personality - in the same way that I love Stephen Malkmus for writing lyrics that are in way nonsensical and in another totally brilliant I always on edge listening - for the next clever line, or the next unexpected shift in tempo or delicious guitar riff. Lenses Alien is the band's first effort as a signed act, with real label credentials. The label who gave them the chance is Barsuk (probably best known for being the home of Deathcab For Cutie and Mates of State ; though they also carry another personal fave of mine in Ra Ra Riot) The new record was also produced with the help of John Agnello - who if you read my previous entry also did work not only on the new Male Bonding record but also some Archers of Loaf - The Archers of Loaf connection is of particular interest to me because though they are very distinct in their own right - it is part of that past love that I hear echoed in C.E.G. at times It sounds as if Agnello let the band do most all of what they wanted with the recording but still pushed something out that perhaps a bit more refined and polished, for that I am thankful because this was all I really could have hoped for in a sophomore release.

Here I have included the album opener "Rife Eyesight" I considered throwing a different song up yet I think this one shows the band at it's best and also displays all of the qualities I mentioned that can cause people to love them or hate them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What's That You Say? (Tame the Sun)

Last week Madden 2012 hit stores and like many others I went out and bought it. Still the music world did not stop kicking.  Quite the opposite really - as I was soon to discover. For starters Male Bonding dropped their sophomore album Endless Now on Sub-Pop.  It was their second release in as many years, as their debut Nothing Hurts came out last year - and was one of my sleeper picks for best debut of the year. Male Bonding is a  fuzz-punk outfit from London. Their melodies are uplifting even when their lyrics are decidedly less so. They also feature a lo-fi production quality that indie aficionados will likely appreciate. Still that said this album does sound cleaner in some respects. The riffs are tighter if only slightly. This is probably  due to the production assistance of John Agnello (who strangely enough also helped on the next album I'm going to talk about) Agnello has been around a long time and has worked with both mainstream successes (Dylan, Alice Cooper, etc) and indie favorites of mine like Archers of Loaf.  My mom made the comment to me that Male Bonding sounds a lot like The Stone Roses - and I am inclined to agree with her (yes, I got my ear for music from my mom, and I am thankful enough to risk sounding like a momma's boy) Here I've posted a live version of the album opener "Tame The Sun".  You can find an album version on youtube but I already posted that on facebook last week so that's why I opted for the live version here.  Also an interesting last thought is that the band's previous tour was with Sub-Pop label-mates Dum Dum Girls (who are also awesome)