Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Week Of 7/19 - Trip-Hop, Ambient, House, Rockabilly

Day Late - things got overly busy. Sneaking this in at work... This weeks new release is UK artist Imelda May, a kickin' Rockabilly artist. Also on deck is a who bunch of DJ mixes. Ancient Astronauts (not a mix) leads the way with a Trip-Hop album. A mix from the Frabric club in London, and one from the Buddha Bar in Paris.

New Releases:
Imelda May - Mayhem
Label: Decca
Release: 7/19 2011 (US)
Genre: Rockabilly.
I picked this up on a whim, and because it's only thing that came out last week that was even remotely interesting. A Rockabilly artist that didn't forget the country roots. She's got the rock part down solid, and well, her voice (and the band) can hold a swing beat solid for a good dance. She can also go much softer and bring out the country side of Rockabiliy just as easily, even sneaking in a waltz (a ballad of making love work). And she's got a set of lungs on her, whether belting out a rock tune or a singing a mellower tune. Easily put into my favorites category.

Adding To The Collection:
Ancient Astronauts - We Are To Answer
Label: ESL Music
Release: 2009
Genre: Trip-Hop
Like many acts, this is just a couple guys doing some DJ work, a little music production, and gathering in as many people as possible to add to the sound. Pharcyde, Raashan Ahmad, Tippa Irie, and a few other DJs. It doesn't stick to general trip-hop sound, and moves both up and down-tempo throughout, a little Hip-Hop mixed in for good measure. It's a pretty good album with some good production, the flow from track to track isn't perfect, but it's better than most.

Optimo (Espacio) - Fabric 52
Label: Fabric
Released: 2010
Genre: House
A quick intro - Fabric is a club in London, every month they put out with a DJ Mix or a Live Mix (alternating them). The Mixes come from DJs that have played, or regularly play, the club. Optimo (Espacio) is two of their regular DJs, and this Fabric is a good solid slice of House/Dance music from mid-2010. It actually reaches back a bit, and feels like it come from ten years earlier, without rehashing the same tracks from then. If you need to just put on some dance music and bounce away, Fabric mixes are good, and this one in particular is both excellent and fun.

Buddha-Bar I
Label: Wagram / Chall'OMusic
Released: 2003
Genre: Ambient, House
Buddha-Bar is another club, this one is actually a dinner club in Paris. The mixes come in two parts: Dinner and Party. The first disc is Dinner and is almost completely ambient music, slow beats (though not completely downtempo), non-invasive songs that fill the space behind you nicely. The music itself is not stuck in a particular era, but an atmosphere. Relaxing, nice, but not totally devoid of rhythm - you could dance to some of this if you wanted. The second disc takes off a bit, Party is just that, more dance, more energy, a little louder. Many of the songs on both sets take from middle eastern sounds and themes, as well as singers. Not your typical club music by any stretch of the mind, something a little different here.

Bonus Track:
Marc Broude - Psychological Warfare
Label: self released (via Soundcloud)
Released: 2006
Genre: Metal, Industrial
Picked this up at random - the artist emailed me a link. It's a 2-track single of noizey industrial metal. Complete with shouted lyrics and all. It's not that bad, lacks a little of the polish of modern Industrial-Metal sounds, but that kind of makes it better. If you're on Soundcloud, go check out his page and give a listen.

And that's it, only four albums (the Buddha-Bar mix is two and a half hours by itself). Next week is some more house mixes, Grace Jones, and a bunch of industrial music.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week Of 7/12 - House, Electro, Blues, Industrial, Shamisen

Finally starting to put a serious dent in the music the wife gifted me, still not quite halfway through it all though! This weeks new release is a Juno Reactor remix album; some more Yoshida Brothers and Said Mrad are added, an old Apoptygma Berzerk single, and a Delta Blues compilation. Good week for some upbeat stuff here, lots of high energy.

New Releases:
Juno Reactor - Inside The Reactor
Label: Metropolis Records
Released: 7/12 2011
Genre: House, Club, Electronica
Juno Reactor have always been pushing the electronica genre, they aren't quite house, but that's the closest I can really get to describing their music without a generic "it's all electronica..." The remix album here pulls from all over to remix various JR tracks, Midival Punditz and Bombay Dub Orchestra were the two I both immediately recognized and looked forward to hearing the most, two bing names in modern London dance club music, blending in their Indian roots. Everything here does justice to Juno Reactor, but they aren't just clubbier versions of their tracks, some really good stuff was done with this. They even snuck in a 'lost' mix from early on. It bounces, and booms, and it's a good addition for Juno Reactor fans.

Adding To The Collection:
Apoptygma Berzerk - Love To Blame
Label: Gun Records
Released: 2006
Genre: Gothic Rock
Apoptygma Berzerk don't sit still, but they do tend to hover around the Industrial and Goth music scenes. A lot of their early music was heavily influence by Depeche Mode and was the beginnings of Darkwave and Coldwave gothic music. This, in the mid-2000s, is not that. The single is really solid Gothic Rock, with guitar hooks, dark imagery that is neither downtempo nor overly hard. Like a lot of good gothic-rock there's a lot of punk-rock in it, no exception here. It's only a 4 track single, with a bonus video, but it's a solid little number.

Said Mrad - Electroriental
Label: Platinum Records
Released: 2009
Genre: House, Arabic
Said Mrad may just be the leader of Arabic-House, taking good old Chicago and London beats and mixing in liberal amounts of Arabic sounds. This album doesn't hold back, and belongs in a dance club from top to bottom. There's even some traditional songs mixed skillfully in. Not much to add on except that the US needs this guy over here to expand our idea of Dance Music.

Yoshida Brothers - III
Label: Domo Records
Released: 2006
Genre: Shamisen, Rock
More from Japan, the Shamisen is an awesome instrument. This album mixes in a lot more Rock rhythm than their other stuff. All of it's high energy, kickin' music. As I sat listening to this on random intermixed with the previous albums I realized just how much these guys would kick ass if they mixed in some bass with their sound. Even without it, though, they rock out nicely.

Rough Guide To The Delta Blues
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2002
Genre: Blues
I like the blues, I really can't get enough of it. And this is a whole collection of a lot of old gems, and some new stuff. The only complaint is that some of the source material was definitely taken from old 78s and 45s and there's a lot of sound artifacts, or off balance recordings here. They could have done a better job bringing the levels up and cleaning up the sound. On the other hand, with all that the old blues music sounds like you are moving back a century to when recordings were rare, and people had to gather together to listen to music. Truly remarkable works of art in here.

Bonus Track:
Ostfront - Fleisch
Label: Out Of Line
Released: 2011
Genre: Industrial
With my last order from the label they sent out a one-track promo sampler from new group Ostfront. Definitely part of the New Deutch-Hart movement of industrial-rock. EBM with heavy guitars. It's not a bad little track, and I think I'll be picking up the full album down the line to get more of them.

And that's the week in music. Next week, to down-shift from all this dance music, is mostly trip-hop and ambient. But it can't all be downtempo and some Rockabilly snuck past the guards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Week Of 7/5 - Bluegrass, Electro, Industrial

Late post - away on vacation over the weekend, I think I may move new posts to Tuesdays, same day I load new music I review the previous weeks selection. The new release this time around is actually old and new; Accessory "Underbeat" was released in Germany in June, but isn't due out in the US until August. Actual new releases for the week were slim and not interesting to me.

New Releases:
Accessory - Underbeat
Label: Out Of Line (Germany) / Metropolis (US)
Released: 2011
Genre: Industrial
The German release is a 2 Disc set, the second disc is some extra tracks and remixes. The Digital version of the US release contains the second disc. The album is solid EBM and dance industrial hits. Not nearly as heavy as many of the German artists in the Industrial scene that normally come over from Germany. The whole thing is club cut from start to finish, everything here is designed for the dance floor. The second disc is where things actually get interesting - there's a cover of Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues" which proves that if you want to turn any song into a heavy dance track give it to the Germans. It is, to be honest, a great cover of the song.

Face The Beat Vol. 1
Label: Side-Line Magazine
Released: 7/3 2011
Genre: Industrial, Darkwave, Eurobeat, EBM
This 55 Track compilation was released for free on Facebook (hence the title). It contains 55 Tracks from signed, unsigned, standard and new acts. Across the board. There are a few real gems hidden in this compilation, and a few tracks that are well saturated in the scene. There's very little underlying theme here other than everyone on it is putting out music right now, this is not a compilation looking back at the scene, but looking forward at it. It's definitely worth picking up in my opinion - you could always use a bit more dance music in your life.

Adding To The Collection:
Said Mrad - Greatest Dance Hits
Label: EMI Music Arabia
Released: 2009
Genre: House, Arabic-House
Said Mrad is one of the leading DJs in the Arabic countries, fusing House with Arabic rhythms and sounds. This is a greatest hits compilation, making it a pretty good starting point for anyone wanting to add a bit of near-eastern flair to the dance floor. It is, under it all, straight house DJ music, though original tracks and not a DJ Mix set. The Arabian flair, and I'm not well versed enough in their traditional sounds to specify further, makes it a pretty cool set to toss in with your normal house mix.

Rough Guide To Bluegrass
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2001
Genre: Bluegrass
Bluegrass, the start of Americana, or Roots-Americana. A little country, a little folk, a little blues, some gospel. All mixed liberally in the Appalachian Mountains for a very unique American Music. This collection gathers some of the contemporaries of the genre and some of the traditional musicians and throws them into a single 21-track mix. Like all Rough Guides this is just a jumping off point to gather artists in the genre and pursue them individually. This compilation tends to have a lean towards the gospel end of the Bluegrass genre, though.

Bonus Track:
Caustic & Be My Enemy - Oxyacetylene
Label: none
Released: 7/1 2011
Genre: Industrial
Caustic and By My Enemy played a cover of this track live, and afterwards decided they needed to do a full production of this Cubanate classic. So they did, and released it into the world for free. It's a near straight cut cover track, nothing too extra added to it, though Caustic's vocals are much harsher and deeper than the originals.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Week Of 6/28 - Punk, Russian Gypsies, Shamisen, Pop-Techno

Thievery Corporation's latest is yet another conglomeration of styles from all over the place, a little bit of hip-hop, some reggae, but mostly a downtempo trip-hop. A Yoshida Brothers album finds its way into the collection, the Deadly Sins are a punk rock outfit, and a compilation of Russian Gypsy music, most of which is guitar work. I love guitars.

New Additions:
Thievery Corporation - Culture Of Fear
Label: Eighteenth Street Lounge Music
Released: 6/28 2011
Genre: pop-techno (mixing in many styles)
The latest release from Thievery Corporation is as world-traveled as previous releases, pulling styles and genres from around the globe into a single cohesive whole of an album. The opening track is fairly downtempo, but the next track picks up with a solid hip-hop beat and rhyme from Mr. Lif. The trip-hop vibe carries the album in a kind of low key downtempo style through most of the rest of the album. A little bit of dub-reggae sneaks in towards the end. Despite continually coming back to a theme of modern world invasion of privacy it's not an album that feels like it has a political statement.

Adding To The Collection
Deadly Sins - Selling Our Weaknesses
Label: Durty Mick Records
Released: Sept 2008
Genre: Punk
There's actually nothing stand out or particularly spectacular about this album. Which makes it a really great punk rock record in my opinion. The whole thing is just a solid delivery, sans attempts at rock-anthems or even ballads. From front to start everything about the Deadly Sins first album is pure punk-rock trucking along without pausing. Female lead vocalist Stephanie Dougherty neither screams nor does she sound like a classically trained pop-singer dropped into a mix of guitars. She's solid, straight forward, and sounds like the vocalist of a punk rock act, sometimes rough, sometimes smooth, always listenable. Really, this a fucking great record.

Yoshida Brothers - II
Label: Domo Records
Released: 2004
Genre: Shamisen, Classical
The Yoshida Brothers are famous for making the traditional Japanese Shamisen a modern instrument, by fusing the old world with the new. The second album has a lot of classical instrumentation here, with a little modern jazz as well. They let their Shamisen's do most of the work, however, and never let the old world get buried under the new. It's almost acoustic rock'n'roll.

Rough Guide To Russian Gypsies (w/ Bonus Album 'Kolpakov Duo')
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2010
Genre: Gypsy Guitar
Russian Gypsy music is much more guitar focused than any other Gypsy music I've heard. Even when vocals are included they become just another instrument with which to backup the guitar work. And some of the guitar work is fantastic. All of it acoustic. Sometimes a violin or similar sneaks in a lead performance, but most songs concentrate around some amazing string work.

The bonus CD hilights this even more, as the Kupalov Duo are two guitarists, and the whole album is The Art Of Russian Guitar, so they use even less of the other instruments than the compilation does. All of it is good uptempo music to dance to as well, very little slow music is here, all of it feels like they're trying to throw a party around each song. One of the better World Music Rough Guides I own.

Bonus Track:
Anthrax - Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't
Label: Megaforce, Nuclear Blast
Released: 6/24 2011
Genre: Thrash Metal
Anthrax finally put out some new music, not since 2004's "We've Come For You All" have the fans been able to hear anything really New. And this single track they released for free with the new-old lineup with Joey on vocals again is killer. It's all the true aggression of the 90s John Bush era, plus the amazing vocals of Joey belting out a thrash metal track that's sure to become a standard. It's fucking awesome, and available as a free download from the band or their labels websites.

[Next Weeks Audio-Bomb will be late because I'll be out of town, hopefully it'll go up late Sunday night, otherwise early Monday morning.]