Saturday, March 26, 2011

Week3 - Industrial; Noise; Blues

Slow week, an unexpected surprise release to help the Japanse releief funds, an order from earlier in the month finally arrives, and I add a new artist to my roster.

Joe Bonamassa - Dust Bowl
I did a full review of his new album Dust Bowl on Wednesday. Blues guitar, mostly a Texas and Chicago feel to this album. This is an addition you won't regret putting in your collection.

Angelspit - Carbon Beauty
Label: Metropolis Records
Released: March 2011
Genre: Industrial; Electropunk

This is a Remix Album from last years studio release, with three new tracks. The remixes here are harder, and a little more glitchy than previous remixes of these tracks. The three new tracks: Glitchbomb; Like It? Lick It!; Toxicgirl, are all hopeful hints of upcoming releases. More glitchy noises, more drums, more guitar. All of it excellent as DestroyX and Zoog continue with their awesome double-vocals assault on music.

OK-ZTEIN-OK - TOHOKO 9.0 Japanese Relief Fund
Label: KMFDM Records
Released: March 23, 2011
Genre: Noise
Sascha Konietzko of KMFMD has an upcoming solo release, but in an effort to raise funds to send to Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami release previews of three tracks early with an exclusive new track that is made completely from samples of recordings of the earthquake and tsunami. All of it is noise that fits in with Squarepusher or Venetian Snares and their ilk (very little, if any, rhythm, but many layered harmonies). All of the money generated is being sent to Japan, and the digital single is only available through April 26th 2011 to collect the funds. It's a weird little song knowing the source, but the cause is good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Release - Midweek Special: Joe Bonamassa (Blues)

To make sure I keep regularly posting, I'm going to try and occasionally make a detailed album review around Wednesday on a New Release. New music is released on Tuesdays (with rare exceptions), and I live near a handy independent record store to pilfer. . .

Joe Bonamassa - Dust Bowl
Label: J&R Adventures
Genre: Blues, blues guitar

Joe Bonamassa has been around about ten years, how I missed him until now I don't know, but he's an amazing blues guitarist. I found him last fall when I was hunting around for guitarists to add to my collection, and ran into him again this week while scanning the new release lists. So I went out and got the album.

There's a heavy Chicago Blues influence here, with some rock undertones behind the guitar. But it does capture a lot of blues styles over all, call it 2/3s Blues, 1/3 Rock.

1 - Slow Train; starts out with a drummer approximating a train starting up and taking off. It's a bit of a long rambling song too, at almost seven minutes, it does go on a bit like a long slow train. It's a solid riff though, one you can slow dance to.

2 - Dust Bowl; Slow rolling bassline, bit of a twang on the guitar. Drop this into a playlist of mellow tracks for a slow night.

3 - Tennessee Plates; John Hiatt lends his vocals here, alternating verses. A good bit of rockin' here, bit of heartbreak, bit of bad luck, and a Cadillac with Tennessee plates.

4 - The Meaning Of The Blues; Another slowed down blues riff. It's a ballad, but it's about a minute too long. It's good, but really if you can't figure out the meaning in four minutes or less. . .

5 - Black Lung Heartache; By far the best track here, starts with a bit of twangy guitar, comes on like a tornado two verses in. Finishes off half rock, half blues. A heavy kick on the drums sets the mood. The story of a coal miner. The guitar work on the front end is awesome, really. This one needs to be played at full volume.

6 - You Better Watch Yourself; Shortest track on the album, and if I have to be perfectly honest, Joe should've kept more tracks closer to this time frame (about three and a half minutes), but that may be my Punk "Short And Hard" leanings coming out. This one feels very Chicago Blues, with a killer guitar riff, another blaster.

7 - The Last Matador Of Bayonne; Another slow, quiet ballad, with horn and an almost-Spanish guitar riff to it. There's a nice long guitar solo near the middle (and even the non solo parts are all lead guitar), giving it a very Texas Blues kind of feel overall.

8 - Heartbreaker; I like this one but it can't quite decide if it wants to be a rock song or a ballad, heavy riffs, slow song. Glenn Hughes helps out on this track, his voice is has more range than Joe's.

9 - No Love On The Street; Another six and a half minute monster, but it's just a slow ballad. Good, but it also needs about a minute trimmed off.

10 - The Whale That Swallowed Jonah; mid-speed riff, lots of lead guitar and solo here. More rock than blues, gives it a middle-of-the-live-set feeling.

11 - Sweet Rowena; Simple song, nothing out standing about it, which makes it a pretty good track for this album, no long guitar solos, just rhythm and song.

12 - Prisoner; This feels like it should be a great classic track, but it's another that just rambles on way too long. Almost seven minutes and five minutes in I'm just waiting for the album to finally end. Not a great way to end it off, boring the listener. If you're in the right mood (I suggest when it's raining outside) the song and long guitar solo is a great slow track.

Overall, I really do love the album, but I'm not a particular fan of six and seven minute songs, especially in this genre, as a general rule. It makes the album feel a little loose, drawn out when it should be tightened up. It's got a bit of everything here, which means I can cherry pick songs for whatever mood I'm in, not really an album I'll listen to all the way through very often.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week2 - Industrial, Blues, Metal

This week: filling in some holes, picking up some new Industrial, helping out the Queensland flood... 2 EPs, 1 Album, 1 Soundtrack and a Compilation were acquired this week (used record stores are good for older releases).

Caustic - 666 On The Crucifix
Label: Metropolis Records
Released: 3/15 [New Release]
Genre: Industrial (the artist prefers Jizzcore...)

New single from Caustic in prep for next months full album. It's a bunch of remixes of the title track and a few other tracks thrown in; 8 total for a decent EP. This is also a Digital Only Release (buy direct from Metropolis Records for best price). Track 1, album title track - the song is catchy, and aside from the obviously overused satan references, this is definitely making some fun of how a Club Hit is made. There are 3 other remixes of the song on the EP, none of them particularly spectacular. The other 4 tracks are excellent; Chum The Waters is by far the best track here. Fun EP, good for some off center industrial club cuts.

Front Line Assembly - Angriff
Label: Metropolis Records
Released: October 2010
Genre: EBM/Industrial

Another digital only single, this is six remixes of the title track, all of them a little too similar for my tastes actually. The song is awesome however, and the whole thing is good to toss into a giant EBM playlist so they get mixed around a little. There's also an unreleased track on the EP that really sounds a lot like just another remix of Angriff if you aren't paying attention. Good for wanting to complete an FLA collection.

Anthrax - Spreading The Disease
Label: Island Records
Released: 1985
Genre: Metal/Thrash

Picked this one up as it's the last Anthrax album I didn't have on CD, how I waiting so long to get this classic into my collection is a mystery. It's great 80s thrash metal, this is the first full album to feature Joey Belladonna on vocals. Thus sets up the "classic" Anthrax line-up that lasted through Persistence Of Time. It's missing some of the goofier fun material in later albums, but steps away from the punk-thrash of Fistful Of Metal into something a little more mature.

Black Snake Moan (soundtrack)
Label: New West Records
Released: Jan 2007
Genre: Blues (primarily Delta Blues)

I managed to catch this movie finally and was amazed by it, and the soundtrack made it go above the grade. Samuel L Jackson even puts down some vocals on this one himself. The music carried the movie perfectly, so I had to get the soundtrack. This is some amazing blues here, some old standards re-imagined as well.

Surge And Subside (compilation)
Label: Aphotic Audio
Released: Feb 2011
Genre: Industrial/Electronica (and sub-genres....) -- Released in response to the major flooding in Queensland Australia in early 2011. All tracks were donated by over 40 bands to raise money for the flood victims. Buying direct from Aphotic gets a bonus Overflow of 9 tracks. Helping flood victims aside: the music itself is a pretty standard affair for a collection of wide ranging electronica, most of it falls in or close to the Industrial genre. It's a little too all over the place for a cohesive compilation, it's obvious the bands tossed in their hats to grab as wide an audience as possible to raise money. A good thing in all, and worth the purchase to help out a region still recovering from a natural disaster. The album comes both as physical and digital releases (I picked up the digital release), and gets you over 3 hours of music.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


The blog fell into disuse; It was difficult to find the time to do the blog as I originally wanted on any kind of regular schedule. New tactic, a quick look at all the new music I acquired during that week. Some weeks get less than others.

Week 1; 7 Albums (3 with bonus content)

KMFDM - Krank
label: Metropolis / KMFDM Records
Release: 3/12/2011 (New Release)
Genre: Industrial; Industrial-Rock

Krank is the first actual single from KMFDM since Boots. By actual single I mean a single that precedes the album the tracks come from, with new music. Like all KMFDM singles (and most singles at all these days) it's multiple Remixes of one new song. Krank is that song - A Remix by Sascha, Kommor Kammondo, and Tim Skold. It also has two remixes of Day Of Light, a single released only as a limited edition vinyl single and a digital single. One by Bill Rieflin and one remaster. Krank is a typical KMFDM song, name checking, solid industrial-rock beat, nothing particularly outstanding about it. But it does remind me of the late 90s era more than recent albums, which I'll take as a good sign. Tim and Bill are KMFDM alumni, each producing a remix that is definitely showcasing their own styles. The last track Day Of Light (24/7 Mix) is really a remaster for the CD, if you have the vinyl or digital it doesn't sound very different.

Legion Within - Aeons and The Empty Men
label: KMFDM Records
Genre: gothic-rock

Legion Within are a Seattle based gothic-rock outfit, with some industrial rock leanings every now and then.

Aeons - released 2004
Actually, absolutely nothing about this album stands out as above the norm. It's a good album, and I've tossed it into a regular rotation in my goth-rock playlist. It fills things out nicely, fits right in with a lot of my collection from the early 80s before Goth started to infuse itself into the Darkwave/Coldwave movements.

The Empty Men - released 2006
This LP, on the other hand, has a little more oomph to it, they flex some industrial muscles in here a little more. Coming up with a punchier sound, an evolution and pick up from their previous releases. Another one I tossed into the Goth-Rock rotation to add some color there.

Rough Guide To ...
label: World Music
Genre: various

I like the Rough Guide compilations, they always bring an infusion of music that's otherwise hard to find and obtain in the US: stuff from outside the US. Each compilation focuses on a particular genre. Some of them come with a bonus disc that showcases a single artist only as a standard album. Like any good compilation, if you want to get into a musical genre these are awesome places to start getting artist names you'll like.

... Bhangra

This one focuses on Bhangra music out of India. More traditional than the big-beat infused Bhangra Dance that passes through clubs. I can see where dance cuts slide right into this genre, even without the big-beat behind it Bhangra bounces and moves, begging for the listener to dance (almost daring them not to...). The Bonus Album is from the group Achanak, with a 20 Year Retrospective Best Of album.

... Blues And Beyond

This takes most of its music from Africa, where the blues has traveled back over to and infused itself with the traditional music there. The result is nothing short of gorgeous. This comes with a bonus album from Nuru Kane, and while it's less Blues and more his Traditional African, it still has a heavy blues influence.

... Gypsy Music

I'm not sure I can place Gypsy music beyond 'Eastern European in feel but not completely' but this is another grouping of music that is easily danced to, though lacking the heavy drum beats of other styles. The bonus album is Bela Lakatos, which moves from bouncing dance tunes to dirge sounding ballads.

... Asian Underground

This is a lot of South and South East Asian music, mixed with modern dance and other styles. It's a good album, but not quite as fully bouncy as a straight dance-club cut album, and not quite as Traditional as a more focused grouping might be. This one, being much less focused on a small region or specific genre, has no bonus album to accompany it. It feels unfocused, so I tossed it in with a playlist that's set to random, mixing it into music to play in the background.