Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week Of 8/23 - Blues, Industrial, EBM, Dubstep

No new physical releases, I did pick up a pretty wicked digital single though. Of the Dubstep variety. Last weeks new release came in, Ana Popovic is a wicked blues singer. A live album from KMFDM, and an Accesory CD+Single round out the listening.

New Releases:
Afghan Headspin - Stand Up
Label: Skint
Released: 8/23 2011
Genre: dubstep
Afghan is a breakbeat and dubstep DJ out of the UK. This four-track single is the track plus a remix, both with instrumental versions. It's a very bouncy, hard, dubstep single. This is a fast track, very good for the dance floor. Fuzzy guitar-like riffs with a great vocal behind it from Stapleton. Definitely one to pick up if you like your dance music a little darker, a lot heavy, and very bouncy.

Ana Popovic - Unconditional
Label: Eclecto Groove Records
Released: 8/16 2011
Genre: Blues
I'd only heard of Ana casually, but I figured it was time to check her out, especially since every other new release for the week was definitely on the Pass list. She's got a seriously good blues voice, not gravelly, a little deeper than most female vocalists, like you want your blues - low and mean. And her guitar playing is top notch, proving that the guitar really is far and beyond one of the best instruments out there. Twelve tracks from slow to fast of perfect modern electric blues come pouring out here, she deserves super-stardom.

Adding To The Collection:
Accessory - Forever & Beyond
Label: Out Of Line
Released: 2005
Genre: EBM
I picked up one of the last Limited Edition 2-disc releases of this, it comes with a 4-track EP that includes a bunch of video as well. The album is a perfect modernization of late 80s/early 90s EBM. This entire album reminds me of Bigod20, early Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, and the like. Nothing overly heavy, the bass doesn't take over, and no guitars to be found - the days before Industrial Rock got a hold of the dance floor. But it isn't stuck back there, it feels and sounds very 2000s despite the throw-back sound. Accessory have figured out the dance floor and unleash a barrage of awesome cuts here. Every DJ needs this in their mix.

KMFDM - WWIII Live 2003
Label: Sanctuary
Released: 2004
Genre: Industrial
This is a live recording from Chicago off the WWIII tour, their second album since reforming with Lucia after the 'breackup' in 1999. Sadly, this is why I don't normally buy Live Albums. I remember this tour, it was epic - with video behind the band and the typical crowd pleasing energy and non-stop music. KMFDM knows what to do at a concert: play, and play hard and never stop. No bullshit crowd interactions, no song introductions, just music - song after song. This though, doesn't translate that energy, fails to capture the experience. Also, Raymond was near the end of his line with KMFMD here and it shows - he's almost off time in some places, and sound terrible through most of it. Sascha sounds like he might have a cold, and Lucia hasn't quite left behind her screaming days from Drill (though that's 4-5 years back by this point). They do play and record almost all the songs off WWIII though - which is nice, and catch a few of the truly awesome classics, though nothing further back than Angst. A good one for the KMFDM collector or fanatic, skip it if you're simply a big fan or less.

Bonus Track:
Bassnectar - Divergent Spectrum Continuous Mix
Label: self-released
Released: August 2011
Genre: dubstep
As part of the pre-order bonus this was sent out, it's a continuous mix of the album. It's a pretty straight interpretation, smoother cross over between 'songs', and some very minor differences. It's pretty cool, but not anything spectacular or anything that those who didn't pre-order are going to miss. It comes as a single hour long track, as well, not split out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week Of 8/16 - Trip-Hop, Ambient, Bollywood, Industrial

Nothing new this week, sadly. Because my local indie-store (a bunch of them actually) managed to concentrate on a bunch of crap for no reason. I have, finally, exhausted the supply of music given as an anniversary present. That means I can really start into the music I've gotten in the meantime... I had a few surprises in this weeks listening as well. What I thought was a house-mix was actually a really sweet trip-hop bit.

Added To The Collection:
Einstürzende Neubauten - End Neu Remixes
Label: Mute
Released: August 1997
Genre: Industrial
This little gem wasn't ever releases in the US to my knowledge, which is too bad. It, unlike most remix albums, is not the norm. It's complete deconstructions of tracks from End Neu. It thankfully doesn't take what are excellently crafted works and simply add thumps behind them. A sublimely minimal remix of NNNAAAMMM is fabulous, it's also the track with the most attention getting three of the ten remixes. A mix of Stella Maris takes it out of it's almost pop-radio original style and makes it much darker. It's all radically different, all off the path. If you liked End Neu, and want to hear some truly different takes on the tracks, this might be a gem worth tracking down.

Nitin Sawhney - London Undersound
Label: Cooking Vinyl (E1 Entertainment in the US)
Released: 2009
Genre: trip-hop, house
Nitin Sawhney is a London DJ, admittedly not just a plain house DJ, but that's what I was expecting from this album, club tracks. What I got was completely different, and amazing. It starts off nice and low key, with a vocal bit from Natty, about chaos in London. A little bit of irony that I listened to this in a week with actual riots in London. The whole album is full of strings, downtempo beats, and vocals that don't overwhelm. It maintains that balance between chill and energy, and doesn't hold to a single style, bringing in bits from India, the London club scene, trip-hop and other elements. This is a good album to just sit down and really listen to.

Buddha-Bar IX, Ravin
Label: George V Records
Released: 2007
Genre: Ambient, House
By this volume of Buddha-Bar they've opened a second bar in London, which is where this collection was recorded from. Again a 2-disc release, the first CD is a more mellow collection of tracks, the second CD picks up a bit. Even throwing in an electro-swing track, and some more club friendly pieces. But still, the whole thing is fairly downtempo, not that it's slow, still danceable. Just not a hard bouncing dance, club friendly for all ages.

The Rough Guide To Bollywood
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2002
Genre: Bollywood (musicals)
This is a collection of classic songs from classic Bollywood movies. While it's kind of interesting, it's exactly like taking a bunch of songs from different musicals and putting 'em all together. India show tunes. And you lose context, especially if you haven't seen the movie. It's nice music, good stuff, definitely vintage, but in the end, it's a random collection of musical pieces that belong in a bigger picture. Also, they were not remastered, you can tell some of the recordings are very old, and possibly recorded on sketchy equipment back in the day. Still, it's a pretty neat collection, nice to have on hand. I'd just throw it into a big old mix for a party night.

Bonus Track
Kim Boekbiner & Amanda Palmer - Such Great Heights & On The Other Side Of The World
Label: self-released
Released: 2011
Genre: Rock
These two tracks are actually free downloads from funding the upcoming vinyl release of them on Kickstarter. The digital versions will be available through Kim's bandcamp. They were recorded while both were on tour in Australia. Neat little acoustic rocks tracks from two pretty cool chicks on the DIY Rock scene.

And that's all - next week: This weeks new release (which had to be ordered online); some (more) Industrial, some dubstep, and some blues. All very exciting. Listen Hard!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week Of 8/9 - Gothic Rock, House, Moombahton

This weeks new selection is the latest EP from The Birthday Massacre, an older EP from Emilie Autumn, rounding out my gothic-rock selection nicely with both titles. A house compilation from London, and a compilation of a brand new subgenre of house - Moombahton.

Moombahton is, to shorten a lengthy story, what happens when Reggaeton got imported into Europe, spend up and created Dutch House, then exported back out to the US, who slowed it back down to its Reggaeton roots creating a kind of bastard house-dancehall style. Very bass, very danceable, very not what you'd expect from 100bpm.

New Releases:
The Birthday Massacre - Imaginary Monsters
Label: Metropolis Records
Released: 8/9 2011
Genre: Gothic-Rock
Birthday Massacre almost fall outside the calssic Gothic-Rock style, which is closer to punk rock than the industrial of a lot of modern Goth is. Female lead vocals are sharp and not overly shouty without also being overly breathy. Imaginary Monsters continues on with guitar driven, electronic influenced, gothic-rock. A quick 8-track EP with three tracks and 5 remixes. And not the same track over and over, only Shallow Grave appears twice with a Combichrist and Assemblage 23 mix. The first three tracks are a good showcase (I hope) of the upcoming release, because they're great songs. The EP also includes a bonus video of 'In The Dark', always a nice touch.

Adding To The Collection:
Emilie Autumn - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun / Bohemian Rhapsody Double Feature EP
Label: Trisol Music Group
Released: 2008
Genre: Gothic-Rock, Classical
Emilie mixes in liberal doses of non-modern styles with her Gothic-Rock. This little EP, a limited edition (I believe there's a non-limited version missing the bonus track and in standard packaging) number that was a European release only, is nine tracks. Mixing harpsichords, violins, violas, and some modern bits. Bohemian Rhapsody only gets a cover version here, and sadly it lacks a lot of the punch the original had. It sounds good but falls a little flat. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, on the other hand, brings a little more oomph and some new life to an otherwise banal pop-song. The four remixes aren't too bad, mixing up the song a bit, one of them nicely guitar-heavy. There are two live tracks, 'Asleep' and 'Mad Girl' for Emilie fans to enjoy. And the hidden track (though the inserted booklet lists it) is 'Gentlemen Aren't Nice' and is a nice sassy little number. This EP is mostly for collectors/fans of Emilie Autumn, if you're just a casual fan there probably isn't anything here you'd be too excited over.

Blow Your Head Vol2 - Dave Nada Presents Moombahton
Label: Mad Decent
Released: 2011
Genre: Moombahton
As explained, this emerging sub-genre of house and dancehall is a slowed down House style that was originally sped up Reggaeton. Reggaeton was itself a modification of the dancehall that left Jamaica to the surrounding islands. As a result this compilation of songs is bass heavy, beat driven, mixed with latin styles (you can recognize some Cumbia in there), with a dancehall feel, and definitely still modern house music. A lot of tracks feature Spanish, several feature reggae MCs, and more than a couple are just instrumental dance tracks. The whole thing is club friendly, and the bigger the system you have the better it sounds. Should be interesting to see more of this genre emerge and morph in the next couple years. As it is, it's new, a little hard to find, and possibly may just get reabsorbed back into the house-mix.

Sub Club 20 Years Underground
Label: Soma Recordings
Released: 2008
Genre: House
This is a 2CD set, the first disc is DJ Subculture, and the second is Optimo. As the title suggests both DJs go way way back into the London underground and come forward through the years, a really wide range of house comes out. You can feel the evolution. Subculture's disc is a little more laid back, almost mellow, but definitely not shirking its duties as a club-cut set of tracks. It's a little more trance influenced than pure rave. Optimo ups the ante a little, and the beat, and comes across with a few more heavier sounds, but still manages to reach way back with a Front 242 cut 'Take One'. Good mix aside, this is an interesting look at the history of London House and Club culture over a 20 year span. Beyond that little bit of history, it's not actually coherent enough to be a great mix set.

Bonus Tracks:
Army Of The Universe - Resin (+ Remix)
Army Of The Universe is an Italian industrial-rock act, and as they ramped up for a North American tour opening with KMFDM they put out a few tracks to download on their Facebook page. Naturally I grabbed 'em and gave a listen. I like 'em. They've got some good styles, the guitar in it really helps bring it out of the all-electronic production of Industrial, just about anything can be improved with guitar. The remix is from Bobberman, and adds some extra punch to the track, but I like the original a little better. Check out the band, I think any modern Industrial fan will like them.

Next week is all compilations and remixes - sadly the new CD I wanted to check out wasn't available locally and I had to order it, so no New Releases next week.`

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Week Of 8/2 - Dubstep, Raï, Industrial, Jazz, & Iran

Short trip around the world this week. From Algeria by way of France I have Rachid Taha, adding some rock to the native Raï music of North Africa. Also from france, the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, SoCal delivers the dubstep monster of Bassnectar, and the Industrial beats of Imperative Reaction. And finally a compilation of musicians from Iran - both new and old.

New Release:
Bassnector - Divergent Spectrum
Label: Amorphous Music
Released: 8/2 2011
Genre: Dubstep
Normally Bassnector is good for solid back to back beats and bass, Divergent Spectrum fuzzes it up a little. The opening track is pretty classic, put it on a big system and it'll bounce the floor around. It's by track 3 that things shift, Immigraniada (Gogol Bordello) comes on almost completely unmolested, until the break hits, then you get a few seconds of deep bass. After that a few tracks really add some fuzz to the beat, sounding almost like guitars. And finally around track 8 (through the end) the floor is finally dropped out and all that wonderful heavy bass and drum and rhythm crushes the dancefloor. As the liner notes say: the bigger the system you play this on the better the impact.

Adding To The Collection:
Inperative Reaction - Surface
Label: Metropolis
Released: 2011
Genre: Industrial
This is just a short EP to precede their upcoming full release. They're pretty straight up industrial-rock, if you liked early Orgy, and the like, you'll be into this group. There's a 'club edit' of What Is Left To Say which is, well, clubby. After that you've got a whole wide variety of remixes of the title track. Six of them. Some better than others, some only work if you're in the right mood. Sebastian Komor kicks out the best mix of the group - heavy and hard. Not much else to say about an 8 track EP.

Django Reinhardt - The Best Of
Label: Blue Note
Released: 1996
Genre: Jazz, Jazz guitar
Django, born in a gypsy caravan, ended up redefining and inventing all new elements of jazz through his guitar. If you don't know him, and aren't a jazz fan... go become one and then buy this album. The compilation does a pretty good job covering his entire career, short as it was. The recordings are clean and clear as well. Eighteen tracks of some really good, mellow, jazz guitar.

Rachid Taha - Rock El Casbah
Label: Wrasse Records
Released: 2007
Genre: Rock, Raï
Before we get started - Raï is a style of pop music predominant in Algeria and other areas of North Africa. Rachid was born in Algeria, and is living in France where he added even more of a rock element to his native style. Another best of collection, this covers his career through most of the 90s and a bit of the 2000s. Including an Algerian cover of The Clash's "Rock The Casbah" - and it rocks. It's all definitely radio-friendly rock and club-friendly rhythms (though nothing with the big bass of House is here).

Rough Guide To The Music Of Iran
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2006
Genre: native Iran (rock, traditional folk, and pop)
Another Rough Guide, another comprehensive look at a country in the world. Everything here has a very traditional feel to it, even the very obviously modern songs with outside influence. This isn't "music by Persians" it's local music in both traditional and modern settings. Like any Rough Guide, it's a perfect entry into a region of the world to find some new artists.

Bonus Track:
M.I.A. - 27
Label: Strerogum
Released: 7/24 2011
Genre: Pop
M.I.A. put this out the day after Amy Winehouse passed away, hence the title. A little pop-track as only M.I.A. could put out (meaning, heavy doses of dancehall and house). A sad and almost angry song about losing talent too soon, it's obvious this is not specifically aimed at Winehouse, but at the loss in general. It's also short, and to the point, a couple verses and end. M.I.A. doesn't harp, almost like a musical PSA. Available free as well.

And that's the new tunes I've been listening to over the past week. This upcoming week includes bunches of House, and Gothic Rock, and some really really new stuff - as in totally new genre of music. Listen Hard.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week Of 7/26 - Industrial, House, Pop

Finally, after 12 years, the new Atari Teenage Riot album. You can definitely feel the loss of Carl Crack on it, but still definitely ATR. A couple house remix albums find their way, one from London the other Paris. The long awaited addition of Sinsect (there were some printing issues with the physical CD) made it in, and to top it all off some Grace Jones.

New Releases:
Atari Teenage Riot - Is This Hyperreal?
Label: Digital Hard Core / Dim Mak
Released: 7/26 2011
Genre: Industrial, Noize
ATR, way back in the late 1990s, kind of slapped the heavy music scene in the face as they managed to achieve some moderate measure of commercial success. Now, twelve years later Nic and Alec are back, minus Carl. And you can feel that loss here. Overall, they haven't grown up lyrically - it's still angry anti-pop, anti-establishment, anti-mainstream, anti-fucking Everything. All their in its shouted glory. Musically, they've moved beyond since hardcore and speedcore noise. Elements of chiptune, more Industrial sounding melodies, and slower rhythms. Nic even shows off her ability to sing instead of merely shout. Overall, it's what I'd expect out of an ATR album, and what I was generally hoping for from new material.

Added To The Collection:
Grace Jones - Island Life
Label: Island Records
Released: 1985
Genre: pop, dancehall, reggae
Grace never was, and still isn't, a force to be reckoned with. Aside from being physically imposing, she's got the musical talent to stand her own. This little collection of songs is, as the title implies, very Caribbean in feel. From either just the sound of the music, or the content of the songs. Some dancehall mixes in with the straight pop music. Good summer or party album to have on hand.

Sinsect - Bug Life
Label: Crunch Pod
Released: May 2011
Genre: Industrial
Technically, this is a digital-only release, but a few hardcopy CDs were printed up and made available to Kickstarter contributors. Which is why I waited a bit from release to now - the printing took longer than expected. On with the music: great thundering industrial hardcore noise here. Dancefloor friendly for those dance floors that aren't afraid to deviate from the same boring shit. This one got stuck on repeat for a couple days this week.

Snooze - The Man In The Shadow
Label: The Medicine Label / Tangerine
Released: 1998
Genre: House
Snooze is a London DJ, and this made it over the pond in the late 90s when pretty much anything related to Techno was bouncing back and forth. At this point not only is this CD out of print, but the label that brought it over is defunct. It's not a bad CD, it's actually mostly original music and not a straight CD mix, but it sounds like one, and plays like one. Didn't leave much of an impression either way, just a decent enough collection of songs to put on in the background.

Stephane Pompougnac - Costes: La Suite
Label: Pschent
Released: 1999
Genre: House
This one is a true DJ Mix from Paris DJ Stephane, the second in a series he's been doing for over ten years now. This one bounces around a bit, starting mellow, moving up to a good dancefloor rhythm, and shows off just how far ahead of the curve the French DJs really were, a very early Electroswing track. I like this one, especially the back half as it bounces right along at a good pace. Not something you put on for background music, definitely a mix for dancing to.

Bonus Track:
Bassnectar - Immigraniada (Bassnectar Mix - Radio Edit)
Label: Amorphous Music
Released: July 2011
Genre: Dubstep
This free little track found its way into my collection recently as I scraped up the cash to buy the new Bassnectar album (out today 8/2). It starts off as Immigraniada by Gogol Bordello, pretty straight forward, but somewhere in the middle goes all dubstep bassy on us. Nice litte ditty.

Hidden Track:
Bassnectar - Upside Down (6Blocc Mix)
Label: Amorphous Music
Released: 7/29 2011
Genre: Dubstep
And this little number was sent out to pre-orders of the new Bassnectar album - after I scraped the cash together. This one is straight through dubstep in all its wonderful bassy drumming glory. No tricks, just dance step all the way.

and that's all I got for this week. Next week pulls back from the past a bit more, goes overseas to Iran, and tosses in a bit more industrial-rock because I can't seem to get enough of that.