Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week Of 9/20 - Classical, Gothic Rock, Guitar, Industrial, Rock

This week I had a short week to listen as I'm leaving on vacation on Monday and will be on the road for three days, so this post is being written on Sunday. So I didn't quite get as many listens in to the new CDs as I'd like...

New Additions:
Tori Amos - Night Of Hunters
Label: Deutsch Grammaphon
Released: 9/20 2011
Genre: Classical
Tori is moderately predictable, most of her albums have a very similar vibe musically. Including this one, which isn't a bad thing, you know what you're in for - some amazing classical piano, though this one is much more classical than previous albums. Up to the point where many songs are reworkings of actual classical pieces. It's all very stripped down, no percussion at all, no guitars and bass, just some strings and wind instruments occasionally accent her piano playing. It's actually a very relaxing album, despite some of the lyrics being the opposite. The opening line is classic Tori "That's not my blood on the floor" .... which really gives the album its life. If you're a Tori Amos fan you'll definitely like this offering, if you're just getting into her this is a good starting point.

Adding To The Collection
16 Volt - American Porn Songs // Remixed
Label: Metropolis
Released: 2009
Genre: Industrial
OK, so I wasn't impressed with American Porn Songs, and sometimes the remix albums hold a lot more interesting things going on. Sadly, no. The complete lack-luster of APS carries right over into total boredom here. Somewhere in here is an acoustic cover of one track, but honestly I couldn't be bothered to even look up which one or who did it. I should probably have given this a more thorough listen through, but honestly it kind of bored me the first time through. Only get this if you're a die-hard 16 Volt fan.

The Mission (UK) - Carved In Sand
Label: Mercury
Released: 1990
Genre: Gothic Rock
Like most Gothic Rock coming out of the 80s, this is just as much punk rock and straight rock'n'roll as it is Gothic. Which is how I like it, really. And The Mission never fails to deliver a good album, so when I found this sitting in the used bin at a local record store I immediately picked it up. I don't remember ever getting to hear this one back in the day, but it sounds familiar, that kind of good familiar that brings you back to a good place, hanging out with friends, in a bar or all night diner, knowing there was nothing to do the next day so one am became three before finally shuffling off into the dawn for sleep. And that's what this does for me. It's a good album, I won't say from a better time, but a different time, when things felt simpler musically. Fans of The Mission will immediately love this album and probably already have it in their collection, as 1990 was the year of hanging on the precipice of musical oblivion before the 90s swallowed up so much of the previous three decades.

Rough Guide To African Guitar Legends (with Bonus Syran Mbenza & Ensemble)
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2011
Genre: Guitar, Rock
With a name like African Guitar Legends I'm afraid I set myself up for a little bit of disappointment. I love guitar driven music, especially some good serious blues, rock, country, and roots. And while every band here has an awesome guitar player in it, and are excellent bands, this is not guitar driven work. This is a collection of people who are known for their excellent guitar work, and are out of Africa, but it's not really Guitar Driven. They just happen to be really awesome guitar players, with a backing band. Nothing truly spectacular, just something really good. And thus my disappointment, which was completely a personal expectation I should probably have placed to the side. Because this is some good music, uptempo, and different from what I get in the US. The bonus CD is a tribute to a great guitar legend who passed away, and feels like a good tribute album, but again the guitar work is not stand out, it's seamlessly integrated into a band work. You can hear the solo work behind everything else, and it's very good. In the end it's two CDs of good music, just not guitar focused work.

Bonus CD
KMFDM - Live Boston 2011
Label: none
Released: Sept 2011
Genre: Industrial
KMFDM recorded as many shows as possible through their 2011 North American Tour, and released them as digital downloads on the world. Sadly, my city (Denver) was not recorded so while I was at the show I didn't get to take it home with me. Luckily their set was pretty much the same throughout the tour (or exactly the same really), and I randomly picked Boston to download to check out the recording quality. It was an awesome show this year, and the live recordings capture that well. 90 minutes of classic KMFDM, most of the WTF?! album and lots of 2000s era stuff, and a few bits from the 90s, and only Godlike from before that. While I love that they play the new albums nearly in their entirety, I wish they'd select from a wider range of albums, they have over 25 years of experience and I think in a live show only one song from a previous album is needed, especially since they took two from Blitz (one of their weakest albums ever) and two from Tovuvabohu, a track of Xtort, Money, WWIII, or earlier would be neat. Still - good recording, clean and clear, and the crowd noise made it through - which occasionally doesn't happen on soundboard recordings. If you saw the shows, this is an awesome souvenir, if you didn't this is a good way to get it second hand.

Next week, I'm on vacation, actually the next two weeks. So I won't be getting anything new - but I am pre-adding two weeks worth of music to listen to while on vacation. If I can post from the road I will, otherwise the next Audio-Bomb will have a lot of Additions to report, and the week after that will be all the New Stuff I missed out on listening to while away - because I have new CDs on order, I just won't be around to receive them.

Until then - Listen Hard!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week Of 9/13 - Thrash Metal, Industrial, Latin, Hip-Hop

After eight years the new Anthrax album hit the streets. I have to admit, the last half decade as an Anthrax fan has been frustrating. We've Com For You All seemed like the break they needed to push forward, and then apparently ditched to do a reunion tour with Joey and John on board. John left the band, and Joey left after the reunion bit. They got a new singer, that immediately upon recording music was gone again, and Joey came back and re-recorded everything. It's been a mess. While I'm a huge fan of the John Bush years, I have to say that Joey sounds awesome on this album. It's everything you want from Anthrax. The rest of my musical selections this week - while good - aren't quite top notch.

New Releases:
Anthrax - Worship Music
Label: Megaforce
Released: 9/13 2011
Genre: Thrash Metal
This is all the best of the early stuff with Joey and the heavy stuff with John rolled into one massive crushing work of pure thrash-metal awesome. Not quite as fast as some of the very early stuff, the group is still in top form and still crushes it out of the park. Joey lost some of the super-high pitched wailing from the 80s, but can still belt it out. This bit of work has launched itself into my top-album tier, nothing on here really misses the mark at all. Though the first couple tracks are a bit of a slow opener compared to the pure monsters on the back end. The Giant and Judas Priest make an awesome pair of songs, In The End I stuck on repeat for a little while, and the first single Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't is a pure thrash powerhouse. They definitely stand back up and demonstrate why Anthrax is one of the Big 4. I'm off to mosh some more.

Adding To the Collection:
16 Volt - American Porn Songs
Label: Metropolis
Released: 2009
Genre: Industrial (Industrial Rock)
I like 16 Volt, they make good music. Especially their early stuff. But this, honestly, is a giant album of filler material. It's not bad, but nothing stands out, another CD to put on the stack of Industrial just in case you need to play a whole bunch for a long time. The only piece that caught my attention was Somebody To Hate, probably because it parodies the classic Somebody To Love song. Other than that, they all sound pretty similar, guitar heavy industrial beats. If you're a 16 Volt fan, pick this up, if you're just a general Industrial fan there's other, better material out there.
MC 900 Ft Jesus (w/ DJ Zero) - Hell With The Lid Off
Label: Nettwerk / I.R.S. Records
Released: 1989
Genre: Hip-Hop MC 900 Ft. Jesus generally puts out heavily jazz-influenced eletronica, here his team up with DJ Zero puts out something much more hip-hop ariented. More beats that hit a little harder, lyrics that flow more instead of his normal story-style. It's good work, and different from a lot of the offerings out there. It's good, it's fun, it's not entirely catchy. This album managed to sadly show its age, and not well. It's not particularly complex, nor clever. It just is.  

The Rough Guide To Brazilian Cafe w/ Bonus Disc (Vicor Ramil & Marcos Suzano)
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2011
Genre: Latin
Ah, latin music. Fun stuff, this whole collection is light, and airy. It is, as the title implies, perfect for sitting around a cafe and drinking coffee (or tea) to, with friends. It just sits happily in the background keeping the good feelings flowing. I really enjoyed this one, more than I normally like the exploration of the Rough Guides series. The guitar work is excellent, the selection fits well together - more so than others in the series where the selection is more about breadth than a continuous listening experience. The bonus CD of Vitor & Marcos is also excellent. like most bonus discs it's a previously released or soon-to-be released album from the hi-lighted group, in this one the guitar of Vitor's playing stands out. It's just excellent. Of all the Rough Guides I've gotten and reviewed so far, this is one of my favorites.

That's the week in music. Coming up is Tori Amos' new album, some gothic-rock, more idustrial and African Guitar. After that I go on vacation so I may be taking a hiatus, or load up lots of new music and have an extra-large post early in October. Or write from the road... who knows! Listen Hard!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week Of 9/6 - Synthpop, Country, Heavy Metal, CattleCore, House

This week is three new ones from Hank Williams III, and all three in different genres. I have to throw in some very light and happy French Synthpop to overcome it all.

New Releases:
Hank III - Attention Deficit Domination
Label: Hank 3 Records
Released: 2011 9/6
Genre: Metal (Speed, Thrash, Hardcore)
First up is a straight forward thrash metal album from Hank III. Nine tracks of shredding licks, double bass-drum pounding, metal. It's also the most boring of the three albums. Not that it's a bad album - it's a pretty good one as far as this kind of metal goes. But, there are other people out there that do thrash-metal better, he isn't quite grinding enough to make death metal, and while it could easily fit, there's better in the hardcore punk scene too. I think, this album was put out too soon, it needed to simmer longer before being finalized so it could pop up from filler to something cool.

Hank III - Cattle Callin'
Label: Hank 3 Records
Released: 2011 9/6
Genre: CattleCore
This is a lot like the previous album - speed and thrash metal. Here though, Hank layered on Auctioneers, and from what I can tell calling out actual auctions too. It's kind of badass, it's a lot of strange. Different, weirdly lulling. It takes some getting used to, that's for sure. Good for throwing a few tracks into a mix just to stir things up, keeping 'em guessing. I can't say I like it the most, but it's absolutely the most interesting.

Hank III - Ghost To A Ghost / Guttertown
Label: Hank 3 Records
Released: 2011 9/6
Genre: Country
The last release from Hank this week is a more straight forward country album, but certainly not the kind of country his father or grandfather would put out. Or even more country musicians today. This one definitely has the marked Hank III sound to it. Heavy in spots, he never really lets go of the metal side of himself. But he adds in some twang, a few ballad sounding pieces. This two-disc release really comes out well, my favorite of the three by a good long lead. With two CDs it actually drags just a little bit, but if you need to kill some time and don't want to change out music, that's what the long albums are for. It's dark, moody, rowdy, and very good.

Adding To The Collection
Celluloide - Passion & Excitements (+ Body Pop Clubmixes)
Label: Boredomproduct
Released: 2009
Genre: Synthpop
Celluloide are a french synthpop band, very light and danceable. I picked up the two-disc limited edition version from a closeout by a stateside distributor clearing space in their warehouse. It comes with a Remix EP. The Remixes take things in a more house/club direction, giving them a heavier beat, or a little more thump. But I like the base album the most, good old fashioned, pretty harmless, but good sounding pop music. Definitely a series of songs to have on hand when you need to put together a playlist that never really slows down.

Alter Ego - Rocker
Label: Skint
Released: 2005
Genre: House
I picked this up as a free digital promotion, it's an 8-track remix EP. As an EP it is extraordinarily boring, to be honest. I've never been too big a fan of Remix EPs that are just the same track taken in a bunch of different directions that still sound a lot alike. Thankfully some of the mixes here really deconstruct the track, but most don't. It's a good wide selection of similar sounding house stuff though, so you can find a place for a track in a good long party mix where you need some bouncy filler.

That was almost a little too much music for one week, I added the Alter Ego album last minute as it was a promo give away I wouldn't otherwise have picked up. Next week is Anthrax (I've waiting so fucking long for this one), some Hip-Hop, Industrial and a Latin mix.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week of 8/30 Industrial, Dubstep, Klezmer, Electroswing, Ambient

Crawled all over the spectrum this week, good diverse set. A last minute addition of an Electroswing compilation, a Klezmer compilation, took a shot at Skrillex's EP, and a Combichrist album from a couple years back. But, again this week, nothing new at all. Really slow month for new stuff in August. September is going to more than make up for that....

Adding To The Collection:
Marc Broude - Medecine
Labek: No Zen Records
Released: 2011
Genre: Ambient
This gem, I picked up along the way when the artist contacted me. My last release from this artist was effectively death metal. This, not so much. Dark ambient, moody. Good headphone music here, as there's some complex things going on with it. But, honestly, nothing extra-ordinary. There isn't quite the depth I'm used to with this kind of headphone ambiance, it almost reaches the likes of Controlled Bleeding's ambient offerings. But falls just ever so slightly short. Less complexity is only part of it, there's a certain emptiness behind it, like you're only catching part of what it wants to be. All that aside, though, it's a good background album, something a little darker than your average ambient offerings, less tinkling bells and more dark atmosphere.

Combichrist - Today We Are All Demons
Label: Out Of Line
Released: 2009
Genre: Industrial/EBM
I don't make a great distinction between Industrial and EBM personally (I'm sure someone out there is annoyed with me...) - but then I don't make a lot of genre distinctions sometimes. This actuallly falls closer to the EBM side of things, but it's got enough heavy bits to be good Industrial. I picked up the bonus 2-CD version of the German release. The second disc is another 8 tracks of songs, some of which seem like incomplete tracks or demos. Honestly, the second disc turns a great club album into something less, not really adding much onto the package. The album itself, though, is excellent. The first six songs alone are beyond awesome, truly pounding anthems for any dance floor. After that things go hit or miss, the EBM roots showing through heavily. Pick up the single disc release of this one.

Skrillex - Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Label: Big Beat / Atlantic
Released: 2010
Genre: Dubstep
Like any good pure-dance music this is mostly breaks, beats and bass. Though for an EP is contains seven tracks and only three remixes, which is a good hefty bit of new music for a non-album. The first track is a really good song for a dance mix, has everything you need from the build up intro to a good outro (not faded thankfully). After that the album is a bit generic, nothing really stands out above what's out there. But it does move, and moves well. Good to have around to fill out the set, or night, just to keep things bouncing right along without pausing. It's priced like an EP, which makes it a definite grab.

Electroswing II
Label: Wagram
Released: 2009
Genre: Eletroswing
All the electroswing is still in Europe, and all the best stuff is still put out by French label Wagram. Which makes it a good buy to pick up these compilations if you're in the US. This goes a little more diverse than most compilations on the genre, pulling in some rock influence, some hip-hop influence, a little house appears, and the always present stand-by bands, Nekta, Caravan Palace and Lyre Le Temps. Everything here is good, everything is so completely listenable. Electroswing is all fun, all the time. It's a genre you need to a grab a partner to and just move on the dance floor. It's impossible not to, and this compilation delivers in spades.

Rough Guide To Klezmer
Label: World Music Network
Released: 2000
Genre: Klezmer
Klezmer is a uniquely Jewish style of music, most usually seen at weddings. This Rough Guide goes from the European origins to the US Revival of the genre. Grabbing traditional songs and new ones from recent groups. A lot of Klezmer, to me, would fi right in with a barn-dance set. It has the same kick-up-your-heels dance feel, and good time all around style to it. Other than that, unless you need a disc to keep on hand for a Jewish wedding, this is mostly a really interesting look at another culture. Not an album you put on to listen to just because.

Next week will be a Hank III fest as he releases three new albums all at once. I'll find something else to throw in the mix to balance all that out though....