Average User Score: 8.4Aug 8, 2013Electronic Duo Buttons on their third album create a seductive sound-scape. An electronic world to fall in love with, one that slowly revealsElectronic Duo Buttons on their third album create a seductive sound-scape. An electronic world to fall in love with, one that slowly reveals itself. With early songs “Brainfreeze” and “Year of the Dog” it teases you, draws you in with a rough but well built sound, an interesting sound. It’s that intrigue that makes you listen to the rest of the album. Much with their past work, the sound of the album is atmospheric and awesome. They create fields and oceans of sounds, and it just feels so grand with “Brainfreeze” feeling like it’s moving away from the Olympics, (which got them some recognition) and moving on into the future, it builds a sound of olympic scale.
An important factor to the album is that it sounds like a Buttons record. There is some drone, there are swirling synths and strings, the tracks are long and propels you into the future. The final two tracks “Stalker” and “Hidden XS” are very grand and mysterious, with sounds that feel like they are from electronic eras of different futures, retro-futurism almost, it’s intriguing. The album can go from the dreamy and to the soothing to the distorted in the form of “The Red Wind”.
Overall the album is a strong 7 track album, but I feel that some of the longer tracks, like the opener can drag on a bit too much, and I think that can be a problem with experimental music, it can occasionally tend to take it’s time to climax, but it’s usually worth the wait.… Expand
Average User Score: tbdAug 8, 2013Locrian since 2005 have been putting out music that is a mixture of drone, noise rock and black metal. I can see all of these sounds on ReturnLocrian since 2005 have been putting out music that is a mixture of drone, noise rock and black metal. I can see all of these sounds on Return to Annihilation but it’s the mixture that for me, sits uneasily. They don’t seem to be able to do the death metal elements as deftly as Deafheaven, nor the drone elements like Sunn O))) but this is because they mix genres together to create the sound of Locrian.
The album starts of with the shortest track out of seven, “Eternal Return”. It’s a song I actually like because it is condensed and concise. It’s a song that knows where it’s going and gets there fast, unlike the majority of the album which at points feels like watching paint dry. It just feels a bit slow at points, a bit too elongated and the wait is too long for the return.
The combination of genres doesn’t seem to play in well with the length either. On one hand you have this long drone song, that has a minute of black metal and noise tagged on at the end, and it all feels very loose sort of, the cement in between the bricks hasn’t properly dried. It’s nice to look at, but it will easily fall apart.
Maybe the stand out track is the title track, “Return to Annihilation”, a surprisingly catchy song due to melodic lead guitar. It’s a song that seems to blend all of the elements that are scattered around the seven tracks into one. It is a solid track that is powerful and tormenting. Synthy drones and dramatic sinister male vocals droning on as if a group of monks where serenading the end of the world blend into fuzzy guitars and pounding drums. Yet I feel that later on “Panorama Mirrors” tries to copy this and fails, I don’t see why they have done that. Album closer “Obsolete Elegies” tries to bring this sound back at the end of the song which just doesn’t work because after a fantastic first half, the second half feels redundant and boring, it can’t capture the goodness.
Overall Return to Annihilation features some interesting ideas and sounds, but at the end of the day it is an album that can get ahead of itself and become a little repetitive, leaving you in disappointment.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.6Aug 8, 2013Savages, a post-punk band from London released their debut album back in May, Silence Yourself, to critical acclaim. Yet, I just can’t getSavages, a post-punk band from London released their debut album back in May, Silence Yourself, to critical acclaim. Yet, I just can’t get into the album as much as others have. I like post-punk bands such as Joy Division who they share a similar sound with, it’s just that amongst all of the passion that I can feel flowing through the music, it fails to really grip me.
However, this is not to say that it is just an average album, because it is not. Track 2 “I am Here” is one of the few songs, that really stand out to me. Starting out with slow distortion, the whaling of a guitar to then be matched by pounding drums and a bass that is walking it’s way through the chaos in the background which is pierced with the vocals, which, admittedly, take some time to get used to because they are so bold. Where the song really shines is towards the end where there are shrill wails of “I am here” over and over and over again and it really leaves a mark.
Amongst the mix of things, “Dead Nature” is a song that is what it is. It is a two minute interlude of sorts, that feels dead, but I really like it because I feel that it ties both parts of the album together well, and breaks it up, giving us space to breath. It then moves on to the brilliant “She Will” whose brilliance is matched with “Husbands” towards the end of the album.
Silence Yourself is a good album, and you should listen to it if you like Joy Division or Siouxsie and the Banshees. The album can be compelling at times, but others it just falls flat. Yes, it is perfectably listenable but it lacks a certain excitement throughout the album which other albums this year have. There are strong moment in the album, I just don’t like the unbalance.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Aug 8, 2013True Widow say that they are a combination of Sludge Metal and Stoner Rock, and it sure seems like that. Opening track on CircumambulationTrue Widow say that they are a combination of Sludge Metal and Stoner Rock, and it sure seems like that. Opening track on Circumambulation creeps to life and turns into a six minute droning drawl that has a hypnotising affect on the listener. Unfortunately, it is this hypnotic feel that the band have by sticking in the mid to low tempos, that ties the album down.
The album can be melodic, in “S:H:S” and in “I:M:O” where there is a heavy reliance on vocals and the production does a good job to make sure that the vocals aren’t lost in the background, which I have found in other records this year.
In concentrated doses, I could listen to this, but after almost an hour of it, you can feel almost woozy with tiredness as it just is almost relentless in its slow moving pace. It never really give you a sense that it is moving on. The album contains songs that would be good for a mix tape, or for stoner’s; which is what genre they fall into.
Overall, the album is strong in a few aspects. The sound packs a punch and the dreamy essence that flows through the album can be really appealing, but it just falls apart mid drift, it doesn’t hold you down in your sleep, instead it floats away and your left on your own.… Expand
Average User Score: tbdAug 8, 2013Melbourne, is Jackson Scott’s debut album and he is being compared to Syd Barret with an album that he has described himself as “apocalypticMelbourne, is Jackson Scott’s debut album and he is being compared to Syd Barret with an album that he has described himself as “apocalyptic pop”.
There is a beautiful lo-fi sound to this album and songs such as opener “Only Eternal” and “Wish Upon”, which are followed up by woozy vocals and dreamy instrumentals, yet the vocals can be a bit too much, they can whine on when what you really want is to listen to the music, like a fly obscuring a beautiful view.
The album is still strong though, and at just under half an hour in running time, it is easy to digest and it won’t alienate listeners as it is so easy to swallow; like honey running down the gullet.
My main gripe with the album is that I feel like it is a promo CD. I feel that this is not the real thing, it is just for show because the songs are so short that they just seem to cut out when you start to really get into them. There are a few fleshed out songs on here though, like “Evie” and “Together Forever” but I just wish there was more, I just wish there was some more experimenting in dynamics and length, because at points it can get to a stage where you’re like “Okay, I get it”.
Overall this album is pleasant. It has a very summery yet mysterious gloom to it that can is glistened in reverb. Unfortunately it can slightly undercooked, which is a real shame.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Jul 10, 2013From the start, the album is most definitely My Bloody Valentine. It had their sound, and it has their sound because, for the first threeFrom the start, the album is most definitely My Bloody Valentine. It had their sound, and it has their sound because, for the first three tracks, it is Loveless. It’s not a copy, instead it feels like the songs could have come right from the album’s track list. Opener “She Found Now” is sleepy and dazey, you just want to curl up next to forever and never wake up. It loses you in the music, the way a My Bloody Valentine album should. It feels like a closer, more than an opener. “Only Tomorrow”, to me sounds like a faster “Sometimes”, and it is my favourite song from the album. But even though these first two songs submit you to a land of honey gloss, where you can seep into the warm pores of each guitar strum, the rest of the album feels limp, confused, the songs seem patched together. I think it suffers from being recorded at different stages over the years because there was never one period where the band sat down and recorded it all at once.
“Who Sees You” meanders off course preparing you to say goodbye to that Loveless sound as it goes into “Is This and Yes”, a song the feels like it should be better than it is. The opening is great, it’s dreamy, and it’s still Shoegaze. It just feels a bit too long and overdrawn, it sits well as a middle point though, it rests in that neutral zone.
“If I am” and “New You” feel out of place. The drums are more prominent and there isn’t a subdued feeling to it. I don’t like the big bouncy beats and the bass, a problem the second half of the album suffers from. It detracts from getting lost in the music because it feels uncomfortable. ”In Another Way” is noisey, but not in a way that I like. It feel borderline obnoxious at some points with the repetitive drum loop in the background, but it’s not as bad as “Nothing Is”. “Nothing Is” is a loop, one that is quite frankly boring and uninteresting. It doesn’t compel any wonder or joy in me. “Wonder 2″ is noise though. With Jets and breakbeats flying over the band. It’s something I could like, but after the last few tracks it’s not all their with me.
Overall, My Bloody Valentine produce a strong first half, but one that get’s lost in time. It has it’s strong parts, the first two tracks are amazing, they really are. However the rest of the album lacks proper substance, and it just drawls along in a way I wish it wouldn’t. There isn’t anything catchy, nothing that garners your attention. But in the end, the first half does retain it’s charm, and it will always send you back to Loveless.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Jul 10, 2013Sludge Metal outfit Kylesa bring a dirty, loud and pounding album in the form of Ultraviolet. The album at times is brutal, look at openerSludge Metal outfit Kylesa bring a dirty, loud and pounding album in the form of Ultraviolet. The album at times is brutal, look at opener “Exhale”. The drums beating into your skull backed by the deep guitars and bass that are accompanied by the brilliant male and female vocals of Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants.
The album swoops into “Unspoken” which is easily the best track on the album. The eerie lead guitar building up the earth shatteringly murky chorus blows your mind with the energy. And inter-weaved into all this chaos is some beautiful melodic female vocals which with the easy going tempo really create a solid trippy groove. I feel that the songs really work because of Lauren’s vocals. They add that extra depth dynamically because if Phillip’s vocals were used a lot, then they would get lost, look at “Grounded”, my least favourite track on the album because the vocals do seem to go to well, it gets a bit too murky, even around the lively riffs.
“We’re Taking This”, along with “Exhale” are good examples of how both can work well together, I’m familiar with male/female vocal combinations in other genres, and I’m really glad that I can see another pairing working here.
What this album does really well is blend in elements of Stoner Rock with tracks like “Long Gone” and “Drifting”, where in contrast you have the energetic “What Does it Take” that speeds along, at a pace that is more akin to Punk then Sludge or Stoner. It has a really strong melodic, distorted guitar lead that keeps up pace with the heavy and murky rhythm guitar. It shows that the band can change dynamics over the course of an album seamlessly and it works really well because it breaks the album up so you don’t get bored and tired with the same old same old.
Saying that, “Steady Breakdown” feels like it’s trying to break any breakdown for the first half of the track before finding it’s feet in melodies. That where the band excel. In the ability to create a ruckuss that lies deep in the frequency chart and simultaneously sprinkle gentle harmonies on top to create a dreamy delight of Metal.
However, from after “Low Tide”, the album can drag on ever so much. It starts to get repetitive and the albums beautifully dark charm gets lost, and it’s not until the end where you are reconciled with it.
Overall, Kylesa deliver a very impressive but slightly weary album due to the fact that the sludge can occasionally overwhelm you towards the end.… Expand
Average User Score: tbdJul 10, 2013DVA is both a political and a personal album to Emika. It’s an album that shows “reflections of oppression and freedom, political, sexual,DVA is both a political and a personal album to Emika. It’s an album that shows “reflections of oppression and freedom, political, sexual, artistic.” It’s the album that she wants to do, and she has; for her, it is returning to her roots. Gone is the heavy pounding skull shattering deep and dark bass which brought to life her first album that had a very autumnal darkness to it, whereas DVA is more like winter. At sixteen tracks, you expect the album to be long, and at a running time of an hour, it is. And, unfortunately it can drag on, especially in “Mouth to Mouth” which is too ambient for it’s six and half minute length. The album does loose itself after around track ten, normally the closing stages of an album. Although, Emika brings us back in with the closing three tracks, she engages us. I feel like the album is bookended by “Hush” and bonus track “Murmer” presenting a story book feel with a prologue and epilogue.
The album thrives more with good speakers/headphones, as you really pick up on the bass in the tracks which is the albums backbone just as with the last album. “Young Minds” feels a little cheesy with it’s synth brass but you get a deeper feel for the song when the bass comes in but it still underwhelms slightly. “She Beats” though, contrasts with scattering synth lines and a running pulsating bass line interspersed with piano, an element that I really like on DVA, the classical influences and sounds. Emika’s voice really shines and throughout the album she shows us her seductive tone. “She Beats” also has this really eerie synth pattern to close the song, the sound of a dying games console almost.
The album is a slow moving one that swirls you downwards from the sky, and for that it may be hard to get into. But once you are their it really sucks you in. The album’s nature is not immediate, it’s calming but moody.
“Dem Worlds” is a good example of the classical influences that Emika has taken on board on this second album, a stripped back track with her voice accompanied by strings, the strings are continued in “Primary Colours”, a song I feel I know but blows me away every time.
The album is long, and because of that I feel that there is too much to cover. There is a lot to be found in this album and I feel that songs will jump out at me in future and envelop me, whilst others will dwindle away. But the main theme is an eerie darkness, like in the beginning of “Searching” or in “Centuries” and “Criminal Gift”, a back to back extravaganza of Emika’s capabilities to produce good quality music. “Criminal Gift” is just such a good closer with the Electronic Piano laying with her vocals waiting for the bass to come in, waiting. And then the bass line rumbles in seductively, There is a distorted quiet destructive feel to this song, and I love it.
Emika a solid album with DVA but one that can feel a bit too tiresome and bloated at points, where you are trying to find the enjoyable, and you get their, and you love it, but yet you still feel worn out.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Jul 10, 2013It starts off with a raw electronic sound, that sonically is different to Kanye’s Work, and this sound has been created with the help of DaftIt starts off with a raw electronic sound, that sonically is different to Kanye’s Work, and this sound has been created with the help of Daft Punk. I have never been a fan of rap, or Kanye West other than “Runaways” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. So the fact that I can listen to this from beginning to end is a feat in itself, but it is still poor. I like the raw electronic sound on the beginning of the album, the industrial feel, and the good use of samples to break up and add to the songs, but the lyrics are poor. They are boring and predictable, Saying that the first two songs are better than the rest of the album until the end. “On Site” and “Blackhead” are good, I can listen to them and they don’t have any of the incessant auto-tune that features later on in the album.
“New Slaves” maybe could be the most dance floor friendly seeing as it is bass heavy, and it’s one of the few songs where the lyrics mean something, even if Kanye goes about it in a brash way, not exactly using the most sophisticated language.
From there on, the album becomes a mess, until “Bound 2″ with the seductive sample of Brenda Lee going “Uh huh Honey”, along with a bridge featuring Charlie Wilson that really breaks the song up, and I like that it came as a surprise, it was refreshing. Sure the lyrics may again be poor, “I want to you hard in the sink”, but it’s enjoyable, and for one song, I can look past the flaws.
Overall, musically the album is decent, I like it here and there, Kanye has some good ideas that he ruins with his rap and the autotune, I really have no strong likes or dislikes to this album, just disappointment with what could have been, and the score is maybe just out of kindness.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Jul 10, 2013Brutality has never been so gorgeous. It’s an album that carefully weaves chaotic beauty into a surprisingly accessible formula, despite theBrutality has never been so gorgeous. It’s an album that carefully weaves chaotic beauty into a surprisingly accessible formula, despite the long length of it’s songs. The length of the songs work both ways though, whilst they benefit by being able to evolve in front of you that will put you into a state of wonder, it can also alienate you at points, maybe making it hard for others to understand why you enjoy walls of noise and screaming for ten minuets.
What is good about Sunbather, the second album from Deafheaven, is that it balances the heavy and the light. “Irresistible” flows from “Dream House” and “Please Remember” is more than a nice interlude between “Sunbather” and “Vertigo”. The first five tracks mix these different melodic dynamics and present you with images of the sun, both in a state of dying and birth.
Despite the overall strength of the album, it becomes weaker in “Windows” and “The Pecan Tree”. The former is a very atmospheric track with audio clips and feels very much like an epilogue, which then in turn ruins “The Pecan Tree” which just feels like a poor encore; we want more, but really we’re satisfied with what we have been presented with, it oversaturates the album.
Overall, the elements that are in Sunbather melt into one of the strongest albums of the year, an album that gives until you can no longer take.… Expand