Music: Rate and Discuss

nipples

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Grails - Reincarnation Blues

Stoners rejoice, for this is the music conjured up in the mists and swirls of a bong. Or a palace in Arabia. Wicked sweet instrumental rock/metal with some cool-as grooves and vibes to bound along to the licks and fantastically melodic bass playing. If Kyuss is the stoner rock of the desert, then Grails are the humid and sweltering tokes from beneath some great palace above a labyrinth like maze of... something. Go listen.
That's a pretty sweet track. I'm definitely going to look more into them.
 

Stigmata

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Radiohead - Go to Sleep. (Little Man Being Erased.)

Hail to the Thief at times feels depressingly low-fi and downtrodden, and other times it's energetic and complex. It really depends on my mood. But there are some great, great songs on this album. Go to Sleep, 2+2=5, Backdrifts, There There, Myxomatosis, A Punchup at a Wedding, and A Wolf at the Door are probably my favourites, in no particular order. We Suck Young Blood is just plain awful, though, and The Gloaming isn't much better. If it weren't for Pablo Honey I would say Hail to the Thief was their least consistent album.
 

FrostedxB

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Hilltop Hoods - Parade Of The Dead

Hilltop Hoods have been around for a few years and just put out their fourth album, State of the Art. Their music is very upbeat, even though they mainly rap about their past and the "smoke and mirrors" of mainstream hip-hop. This song is really just a tribute to zombie flicks though, still good.
 

Zephos

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Radiohead - Go to Sleep. (Little Man Being Erased.)

Hail to the Thief at times feels depressingly low-fi and downtrodden, and other times it's energetic and complex. It really depends on my mood. But there are some great, great songs on this album. Go to Sleep, 2+2=5, Backdrifts, There There, Myxomatosis, A Punchup at a Wedding, and A Wolf at the Door are probably my favourites, in no particular order. We Suck Young Blood is just plain awful, though, and The Gloaming isn't much better. If it weren't for Pablo Honey I would say Hail to the Thief was their least consistent album.
I would thoroughly agree. I'd like to say that Sit Down, Stand Up is also a standout on HttT, and There There is probably my favourite Radiohead song ever. You're right, though, it's far too scattershot (scatterbrain? Oh ho... ho :() compared to their previous albums.

Radiohead - Gagging Order

Absolutely, hauntingly beautiful B-Side (edit: coincidentally Go to Sleep's B-Side!), one of their best acoustic songs. Certainly one of their saddest as well, Yorke's lyrics lacking their usual cryptic nature and its all the better for it.

"A couple more for breakfast
A little more for tea
Just to take the edge off
Just to take the edge off

Move along, there's nothing left to see
Just a body, pouring down the street"


:(
 

brad92

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Great thread! I'm going to rate and discuss the single most important musical album in my life. Enjoy. Its lengthy.



Pink Floyd - "The Division Bell"



Album Art

Genre: Progressive Rock

Release Date: 30 March 1994


Everybody has a position on the departure of bassist and songwriter Roger Waters, and these opinions can become rather divisive - frequently to a degree that is downright silly. I will spare you the majority of that particular diatribe except to make clear that, wishful thinking aside, post-Waters Pink Floyd is not the genuine article, so much as a fractured band groping to find that ineffable quality that made the Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here so great (and the same goes for Roger's solo career, which has been spotty at best). That aside, the Division Bell is a fine album by its own rights and it definitely has the "Pink Floyd spirit" pervading it - a hard-to-define quality that saves it from mediocrity on more than one occasion. Making a triumphant return are, among other things, Richard Wright's languorous, deliciously retro keyboard work. And though the songs tend to focus more on texture and on layers of melody, Nick Mason occasionally drops in with his reliable, competent drumming. Beautiful guitar abounds on this album. Gilmour has an ear for tone that remains unmatched, and it is hard to grow tired of the beautiful, soaring solos he effortlessly spins.

The Division Bell also signifies a kind of return to form, in terms of song writing. The first album to have a definite theme in quite some time, the Division Bell tackles the thorny and also very relevant theme of communication breakdown. On occasion the verse is clumsy, but Gilmour's brilliant sense of melody unfailingly saves it. The album explores the themes of miscommunication, the loss of a friend, the loss of love, and essentially everything at the same time. There are some moments in here. "Marooned" should be included among the band's greatest instrumental works - before and after the departure of Waters. "Lost for Words" showcases some of the best song lyrics on the album, especially the final verse in which Gilmour gives voice to a startlingly heartfelt, "You know you just can't win." In that instant, the listener can almost feel the frustration of trying to make amends to the unforgiving. "High Hopes" is a beautiful closing statement, a remembrance of times past and deeds done.

The album opens with the instrumental "Cluster One," featuring the sounds of Mother Earth herself. The music is quiet, thoughtful, an introspective introduction that provides a flavour of things to come, and perhaps reminds you that this CD is a Pink Floyd CD; you can expect art, a touch of this, a touch of that, and it will be tinged with progressive elements.

The stronger elements of "What Do You Want from Me" contrast nicely with the opening piece. The song has elements that date back to "Wish You Were Here" and "Dark Side of the Moon." While the work breaks little new ground for Floyd, it is the reliability and quality of the music and lyrics that make it so addictive. This music is the same while being different. Those contrasting guitar chords are so Floyd. "Poles Apart" follows in a similar vein. However, the power of the lyrics of "Poles Apart" pulls you into the imagery painted by the combination of the music and lyrics. Once again the keyboards reminded me of "Dark Side of the Moon."

The fourth track, "Marooned," is pure brilliance. "Marooned", of course, is VERY oceanic. The image in my mind has always been of a stark, rocky, New England coastline--dark, ominous clouds threaten a nor'easter that may or may not materialise...but a warning just the same. Mr. Gilmour deserves credit here as well, for a guitar solo that to me sounds like the anguish of a soul in pain. Some parts even seem like racking sobs. Yet as the song goes on, it almost seems to gather strength...all hope is not gone. Out of this pain comes renewal.

I have allowed myself to be influenced by another reviewer who stated that David Gilmour took the opportunity to get a few digs at Roger Waters in this CD. At first I heard the lyrics of "A Great Day for Freedom" as relating to the breaking down of barriers between East and West at the end of the cold war. Multiple listening now convinces me that the song has more to do with the departure of Roger Waters than anything else. The music is mellow and good, but to use the lyrics as may have been done distracts from my enjoyment of a musically good song.

While the music of "Wearing the Inside Out" starts with a jazz flavour, or may even remind a listener of Vangelis' "Blade Runner" music, the lyrics are surreal and hint at paranoia and being left out. Richard Wright's music retains only a hint of Pink Floyd's usual musical style and while the change in flavour may provide some needed variation, the variation is also noticeable to a focused listener. This track is one of my less favourite on this CD.

I like the music and the lyrics of "Take It Back." There is a strong pop beat to this song, but it is so listenable and the lyrics are complex so that it is an enjoyable song. My only objection is the pop-like repetitive lyric at the end of the song. The harmony is well done, but the repetition is annoying.

The lyrics of "Coming Back to Life" are evocative. The song is a lament, and a seeking, and a journey, and a vision, an ending and a new beginning. It is amazing that David Gilmour managed to squeeze so much into the sparse lyrics of this song. While this song retains some of the pop flavour of "Take It Back," the lyrics will challenge an analytical listener and turns what could have been a mundane song into a good listen. I think "Coming Back to Life" is notable for Mr. Gilmour's second-most impressive singing job. Only "So Far Away" from his self-named solo album outdoes it. The beautiful, even, rapid note changes are absolutely impressive...the studio effects chosen here are very effective, in my opinion, to accentuate it.

"Keep Talking" uses a bit of a gimmick with the synthesized voice of physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking used at several places in the song. I like this song with its Pink Floyd style. However, I keep thinking that this song sounds similar in places to another song I heard on an early Pink Floyd album; I am just unable to pinpoint the song. Perhaps the style is so strongly similar to early Pink Floyd that I keep thinking this is a song from "Wish You Were Here."

The song "Lost for Words" is a song of frustration. How can you help overcome the differences between you and those who may be your enemies? This song really has no answer to the question, but how many songs of any genre use the words "doldrums" and "cauldron," particularly in the same song? For a while the vocals have a bit of a Bob Dylan feel to them, particularly in the opening stanza. Later we hear the sound of a boxing match in the bridge leading into a stronger, more Floyd style vocal. This song also contains a four-letter word that I am unable to recall having seen in a Pink Floyd song. I was a bit surprised by the inclusion, though it fits well with the theme.

The last track, "High Hopes," is my favourite on this CD. It is progressive and strong and a wonderful way to finish off a CD. My opinion of this CD was strongly flavoured by this last track that contains so many musical elements. The song in introduced with bells and a haunting piano. The initial vocals are dark and plaintive. The lyrics are full of unrealized futures and lost pasts, a feeling that we are coming to the end. The tolling of bells and the heavy bass are sad and nostalgic, and while it would be easy to accept the end as depressing, it is the well-executed artistry of this song that makes me happy rather than the sadness of the song.

The Division Bell was a refreshingly exciting work from a band that had gone through many things in some 35 odd years. I find it soulful and moving and it does what a great album should do by evoking many moods and feelings.
 

kineaesth

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1983 (Daedelus' Odd-danCe Party Remix) - Flying Lotus

1983 is probably the best song off 1983, and this re-working is... Impressive. Totally out of time and stuttered, with little pauses between bars, this song just sounds weird until it begins to build up to a double time segment, with a scratchy little synth doing rapid glissandos and a driving beat with lots of open hats. An excellent take on 1983, truly original and using elements of the song as well as Daedelus' trademark vocoded speech synths to make something totally new and fresh. Good luck mixing it, though.
 

Tollbooth Willie

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Saul Williams - Sunday Bloody Sunday

Didn't realize until about a week ago this song even existed on The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! since I usually skim over songs. So glad I gave it a listen. Compared the to original version by U2 (which I didn't hear until a few days later on the radio) I prefer Saul's vocals mixed with the sound produced by Trent Reznor over Bono's voice and the simple guitar. Although I've noticed it uses the same drumline as the original.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keqAQk1YuOs
 

dfc05

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Explosions in the Sky - live recordings

I started listening to the huge collection of concerts I downloaded from the Live Music Archive. I really love the old recordings (2003 and earlier). There tends to be very little crowd noise (I just listened to a recording from their 10th anniversary show in New York recently, and there's a lot of talking and some guy yelling "Hurry up!" throughout it :|). My favorites to listen to are Once More to the Afterlife because they don't play that anymore, and Yasmin the Light because the chill part at the end sounds really clear and different in some of the old recordings. There's also a recording of the first time they played Birth and Death of the Day which is pretty cool (sadly, that show sold out before I realized they were playing).
 

Stigmata

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Venetian Snares - Horsey Noises

I really love this song. It's like regular Venetian Snares, but the vocal samples take on a heightened presence, and the beats are at about a third of the speed you'd normally expect. But even with the lower velocity, it's still as immediate and gripping as any of his other music. I'm really looking forward to whatever LP comes from this. Filth was pretty good, but not great. Worse than Detrimentalist for sure, which itself doesn't even begin to touch Rossz Csillag Alatt Szueletett.
 

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The Cure - Killing an Arab

Amazing track, the bass line is aweshens and it features some of my favourite guitar work. It appears on the album "Boys Don't Cry", which is probably my favourite album from the 80s. Post-punk at its best.
 

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Sunset aka {{{SUNSET}}} - Loveshines II
http://www.myspace.com/lobosunset

This band self-describes themselves as "pop post-everything" on their facebook page, which I find amusing as that label doesn't really mean anything to me :p.

The Loveshines song is pretty awesome. It's got a nice classic feel to it, really cool vocal layering on the chorus, and the repeated notes at the very beginning reminds me of an old song... I can't quite figure out which though (like a way darker version of the opening of Mr. Blue Sky maybe?). I wish it were a little longer though.

Their other songs are nice too.

[edit] Just listened to their song The World Is Awaiting... it's beautiful.
 

swan_song1973

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Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

I've never really been a soul person, it just doesn't hit me the same way jazz and the blues does. Although soul singers usually have very powerful voices, I always found the lyrics sappy and stayed away from the genre. A few days ago however, I was reading an old Rolling Stone article about the 100 greatest singers, to which Marvin is #6. I knew that What's Going On was a pretty highly respected album and thought I should give it another listen. I currently have the title track stuck in my head and I don't think it's leaving any time soon. Never have I heard anybody who has a voice as smooth. Listening to this song is like running into somebody I haven't seen in years, it's so welcoming and warm. I've been listening to a lot of the Mars Volta lately which is a very jagged sound, Marvin being a vast contrast to this or anything else I've ever listened to. Maybe it's the change, but it's still a damn good sound, shame he had to get murdered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtUMa0FtuWY
 

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Saul Williams - Sunday Bloody Sunday

Didn't realize until about a week ago this song even existed on The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! since I usually skim over songs. So glad I gave it a listen. Compared the to original version by U2 (which I didn't hear until a few days later on the radio) I prefer Saul's vocals mixed with the sound produced by Trent Reznor over Bono's voice and the simple guitar. Although I've noticed it uses the same drumline as the original.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keqAQk1YuOs
cool adaptation of that song. the original brings me back a bit to when i was a pre-teen and now this one feels more modern. nice find
 

Cormeh

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The Touch - Stan Bush

This is so awesome. It's actually destined to be a part of me and my mates 80's workout music playlist. Nostalgiac and cheesy, it's pretty much perfect.
 

Ennui

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Neo - Sínfutás

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lyvd7pnddhs

From the soundtrack to the movie Kontroll. I really, really love this song and this movie. I'm not entirely sure how to describe this band but this entire album/soundtrack is goddamn epic.
 

Stigmata

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It's tribal future digibilly. And I'm going to check it out.
 

FrostedxB

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Kool Savas - Der Beweis/Mona Lisa (Riptor Remix)

Der Beweis and Mona Lisa were both some of the best tracks on Kool Savas' album Tot Oder Lebendig (Dead or Alive). Riptor Beats have made numerous remixes of Kool Savas tracks and all have turned out to be impressively good. This mash up of the two songs works well and the remixed beats was pulled off with brilliance.
 

soulslicer

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Centiment - Earth Part one
Centiment - We're in this together

The guitars in this song are just particularly awesome. Extremely spacey and melodic, yet really metal. I kind of wish I could find more metal songs that sounded like this, using those spacey notes and stuff.
 

Tollbooth Willie

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Zero 7 - You're My Flame

Lovely song. Sia's voice is just beautiful. The lyrics are sweet and fun. Really upbeat and has a great effect on mood. I don't think I've ever listened to this and not felt at least a little bit happier. Mostly though the song is something I've been able to relate to a lot lately with someone else. Being able to appreciate life's smaller things while having someone else special to do it with.


But what always gets me?
Teach me to haggle
I'll teach you to swim
Get right back on the saddle
Push me on a swing

Take me to Rio
I'll take you to Berlin
I'll give you some yarn
And you'll give it some spin
Yes you will
 

FrostedxB

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Gabriel Antonio - Ride For Me

Its a shame that Gabriel Antonio doesn't have more songs, this one is the type of song that just about anyone can relate it, and does a great job of going being both somewhat upsetting yet inspirational at the same time.
 

dfc05

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The Walkmen - You & Me (album)

A few years ago, one of my friends showed me a youtube video of this band performing live. The sound quality was really awful so I just assumed that all their music was noisy as heck and didn't listen any further. I recently decided to try it out again, and this album is pretty awesome. It has some catchy tunes and the singer's voice sounds like it's been dropped down from an older time (I mean that in a very good way, à la Bob Dylan/Billy Joel).
 
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Owl City - "Ocean Eyes" (Album)

Owl City has quickly become one of my favourite bands over the last few years. The fact that Adam Young does the majority (if not all) of the work on these songs alone is impressive, but his sound reminds me of a bit of the Postal Service, which is in no way a bad thing.

One of the problems that you tend to run into with this genre is a degree of repetition, not just as the song progresses, but even as the album progresses, but I never really get that here. The lyrics are fantastic, Young's voice is light and airy, and the entire album just makes me smile. It's a fantastic summer album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aENY16Mjw6k

Our Lady Peace - "Burn Burn" (Album)

Our Lady Peace has always been one of my favourite bands. Rarely a week goes by that I don't listen to them at least once. Raine Maida's vocals are certainly hit and miss for a lot people, but he has such a unique style that I've always absolutely loved.

Unfortunately lately their works have been a bit stale. While I did like Gravity, it clearly went in a different direction than anything they'd done before and was, dare I say, less special. The songs felt more like something anyone could have written, and didn't necessarily hold Our Lady Peace's style to them. The next CD, Healthy in Paranoid Times, I didn't even like.

The good news here is that with Burn Burn, OLP really goes back to their roots. It's absolutely fantastic and exactly what I wanted from them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nK4MwL5p_o
 

swan_song1973

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Almendra - Almendra II (1970)

Argentinian rock? Hell yes. Their first album is heavy on acoustic and I didn't like so much, but the second one kicked ass. They're basically a Spanish speaking Led Zeppelin, which is awesome. I read about Almendra's guitarist, Luis Spinetta, in an interview with Omar Rodriguez Lopez so that was an instant beacon for me to check him out. If you're ever looking for something to expand your musical palate but don't want to leave the familiarity of rock music, check them out.
 
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The Cure - Killing an Arab

Amazing track, the bass line is aweshens and it features some of my favourite guitar work. It appears on the album "Boys Don't Cry", which is probably my favourite album from the 80s. Post-punk at its best.
:cheers: So true, their old stuff is excellent
 

Zephos

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Ready, Able - Grizzly Bear

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcQAOfa__ro

This is such an incredibly beautiful song. I love how subtly the strings add to it, especially in the outro. Grizzly Bear are such a tour de force live, I cannot wait until they arrive in Australia next summer. As for Veckatimest itself, still my definite album of the year.
 

kineaesth

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Tomb - Gatekeeper

I know nothing about Gatekeeper, who is on Skull Disco, Shackleton's label. However this track, which I played last night (! ! ! :D) is very very nice. A halting beat, with slightly syncopated wobbles pounding through in all the empty space, and a huge, harsh snare, all soaked in reverb and delay, with an echoing, distorted vocal sample meandering, phasered and delayed, through the whole mess to top it off. Around 2:20 when all the elements drop in the song compresses so much it sounds like you've just gone deaf, and the breakdown at 3:50 is sublime.
 

Shakermaker

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Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep Mountain High

Filling iTunes again after my computer meltdown and rediscovering a lot of stuff I didn't even know I had, including this track. Supposedly it is the original mixdown by Phil Spector and it certainly sounds that way. Tina seems to be singing inside an immense space filled with about every instrument you can find plus a bus load of black women. If there is one song that summons up the wall of sound it is this.
 

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A Silver Mt. Zion - The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes

Listening to the live version, from June 16, 2005. At the end when it gets really quiet and they sing "Come on friends, to the barricades again," you can just barely hear people clink their glasses. Or maybe they just accidentally knocked them together, but I like to think they're clinking.

And then they play Hang On to Each Other and some guy says "Aww."

I wanna go to a Silver Mt Zion show... sigh.
 
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Kine - Click

I love this. I am still not entirely sure how some of it was made.

It starts with what sounds like a break with an amplitude modulated bassline--but what's this? The break starts and stops, jerking back and forth with the bass doing the same at its mercy. Then another bass, pure sine this time, a little lower in range, jumps in, and they start to have a little conversation. But bass1 and his buddy Mr. Break win out, taking centre stage, if only because they keep yelling the same thing over and over.

But then wait, who's this? Oh hello faux-string... thing. Like a violin but obviously a sampler in disguise. You're not fooling anyone. With it we hear the first evidence of reverb, a welcome change to the hitherto dry palate. It clangs in and out of tune, like it's nervous about what it has to say.

Then the string starts whining, repeatedly. A single chord over and over, drowning everyone else out. The tension builds. How long is it going to do this for? Oh god stop. And finally, release, and the drums are back, and everything's back to normal--THIS IS WHAT ARTISTS NEED TO LEARN: TENSION AND STORYTELLING. THIS IS WHAT MAKES MUSIC EXCITING AND INTERESTING.

Anyway, the string does a little counterpart with the drums, and things go well. A second, less abrasive drum enters and has its say, as well as some vocals whispering. What the hell are they saying? Am I listening to Autechre's PLC? Ahh I have no idea help get me out of here.

Near the end the drums start up again from the beginning, as if the sudden intrusion of drums2 and the weird vocals had never happened. There are a few new texture jabs--like 80s laser sounds--which are a nice touch. After this all hell breaks loose and suddenly we're in a garbage can being rattled by a revved chainsaw for the last 8 seconds. But **** comfortable listening.
 

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Zero 7 - Give it away

This is one of the best chill out tracks I know. An electric piano, acoustic guitar, strings, and the keyboard horns, building their way up to a very laid back climax. It is on par with La Femme d'Argent, Air's magnum opus. And that is also my biggest bugbear when listening to Zero 7. They sound almost too much like Air (or the other way around, depending on which side of the fence you're on). It is not that I really mind because it is more of a good thing, but still.

Zero 7 - Give it away

Air - La Femme d'Argent
 

Ennui

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Biosphere - Chukhung

One of my favorite tracks off his beautiful minimalist ambient album Substrata, which very well might be my absolute favorite ambient album of all time... although that depends if you include Carbon Based Lifeforms or Bluetech in that category rather than psybient. According to Wikipedia this album has "a theme of cold, of mountains and glaciers and running water". Few ambient musicians rival him in his ability to create such rich atmosphere. I find it calming and relaxing, pretty much the epitome of what I think ambient should be, and I listen to it when I'm either chilling hard (right now) or going to sleep. Best listened to in the dark, in a pleasantly contemplative mood. The entire works of Biosphere are excellent and worth getting but this album takes the cake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTnPK8AD1gs
 

Qonfused

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Boards of Canada - Korona

I'm currently rediscovering all the old Boards of Canada stuff. It's like listening to it all for the first time as it's been a long, long time since I've sat down and consciously listened to it all. It's interesting to listen how their music as changed and morphed along the years.

Korona starts off with a delicious pad. Absolutely amazing sounding. So rich. It soon becomes drowned out with a fast beat, faster than most BoC tracks. I miss the richness of the pad. The track continues on, that wonderful pad filling the soundscape as the beat changes and morphs to different patterns.

It's wonderful really, along with the rest of the old BoC discography. The (obvious) Old Tunes come to mind, a mix of short analogue pads and sounds to beats over old television shows. It transports the listener, and isn't that what music is supposed to do? Twoism being a mix of seemingly dark tunes, crossed with just funky tracks. Boc Maxima having my favorite BoC track, Whitewater.

I love rediscovering music. I remember why I fell in love with it in the first place.
 

kineaesth

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Still Life - Goldie

This guy has some serious talent. Still Life is from Timeless, 12 tracks on 2 cds, the longest clocking in at over 20 minutes. This is some serious old school jungle.

The 808 beat first dropping at 1:00, after the lush pads that are all throughout Timeless sounds a bit strange, yet at 1:40 when a stuttered and harsh beat begins, complete with small throbs of bass and little delayed and effected sounds, you realise what the song's gonna be all about - lush soundscapes and driving, heavily edited breaks.

A heavier break at 2:05 reinforces this, and the re-introduction of the orchestral pads later brings the song back to the beginning. Breaking down at 4:10, we hear some smeared, pitch shifted vocal stabs, very Burial-esque, and at 4:50 the 808 break is bought back, to be quickly trampled at 5 minutes by a splashy, gritty break with 3/4 snares, propelling the song onwards again. We shift in and out of breaks, all of them crisp and sharp, with the smooth rolling nature of jungle, and the song slowly breaks down, elements dropping out, until it finishes after 10:47.

Goldie is a genius, and Timeless a truly groundbreaking album. The vocal stabs are without the unfortunate kitsch of some of the other tracks, the breaks are smooth and complex, and the song has a certain underlying pattern that makes it incredibly listenable.
 

Stigmata

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I've written a review of the album The Slip by Nine Inch Nails. I'm not entirely sure why. I hope someone likes it :D


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It's been a while since I've written anything concrete. It's also been a while since I've listened to Nine Inch Nails. Maybe my inevitable stretching pains will cancel each other out, like destructive interference?

So. The Slip. Released barely a month after the excessively competent Ghosts I-IV, it exercises everything that Trent Reznor, both as an artist and a businessman, has worked towards as of late. Droning, buzzing fluorescent synths and distortions permeate the album, until it's almost a reflection of the world that created it. Labels, corporations and monopolistic market forces in general have always been in Trent's way – compare his public tirade two years ago against Interscope with the dealings surrounding his Broken EP in 1992 – and his music is only showing more of the scars. The Slip is very much a human album, but the cold and lifeless walls that he has surely put up manifest in every song, pushing down the warmth inside.


It sure doesn't seem to come through in the lyrics, though. Especially not at first, with the slowly rising and pulsing wail of “999,999” lending a soapbox to Trent stuttering “How did I slip into this?” Of course, we never hear the last word, because once he finally manages to push it all out in one go, he's cut off by a crash of over-distorted guitar and hard-rock drumbeat that gets a foothold and doesn't look back. On top of this well-worn structure (seen on the tracks “Survivalism” and “The Hand That Feeds”), he confidently and powerfully delves directly into the same crawl-on-your-knees-you-pigs clichéd lyrical turns that made his fanbase begin to cringe on The Fragile, and further heighten their cringing on With_Teeth and (to a lesser extent) Year Zero. Once we get it to the chorus, Trent tells us “I jump from every rooftop / So high, so far to fall / I feel a million miles away”. And he should, because anyone's bound to lose sight of the significance in something they seem to say every other chance they get. But once the dissonant descent of the final riff closes the song, you realise he's being silenced by something far more interesting – the music – and that you should probably pay more attention to it.


“Letting You”, a clear tirade against recent target favourites “people who abuse their power”, combines more tired themes with an immediacy and anger not heard since “March of the Pigs”. The music is interesting enough to boot, with powerful distortion, yet clear production, and variation in the sound at all the right times. It's not a song he expects you to listen to more than a few times, so he knows to get the information across as directly as possible. Somewhat of a contrast to this is “Discipline”, the effective single. A clean, beautiful piano, warm textured synths and a surprisingly-complex harmonic depth to the vocals in the second half make this a highlight of the album. Lyrics, again, are notwithstanding, only this time he's switched gears and needs your help for something.


“Echoplex” threatens, at first, to slowly beat your ear canal into a calloused lifeless tube. “My voice just echoes off these walls,” says Trent, and again. And the song continues to threaten. But atop this flat platform of low frequencies is some very dense chromatic melody. And just like the lyrics say, it echoes, and echoes, and the cold lifeless walls that have been pressing in on him cascade the echoes into a roiling, chaotic finale that somehow seems to move at a walking pace. This pace is then replaced by the forceful dance-march of “Head Down”, a song about people who are not who they claim to be. So it's all but assured, now, that the theme of this album is anti-corporate and anti-ego. Effectively an album about various breakdowns, like his magnum opi The Downdward Spiral and The Fragile, only here the breakdowns are much more socially broad in nature. And here is where the album, where Trent is most effective at communicating with its listener. The humanity of the lyrics and the piano is stifled and crushed by the pinpoint precision of metallic screams and the collapsing rumble of boiling, gray distortion.


From the wreckage, a single, lonely piano emerges and laments the loss. Trent sings softly overtop, almost whispering at times. And this time, with everything around him lying in pieces, he manages to find the words that he's been missing since he forgot how he got here. It's unfortunately impenetrable, sighing about an undefined “she” who may or may not be drowning and his maybe-rescue of her which, of course, results in a self-deprecating lack of fanfare. The piano's final notes fade away, leaving the ominously inevitable dark hum of “Corona Radiata”. It pulsates, it ripples, and it intrudes on you. It does not try to be liked. It brings with it a sense of unease which persists for minutes, only to be replaced by a heavy beating from past the horizon. Dark as the droning, it marches forward, until you can hear the awful melody of its mechanics. It surrounds you, and as you enter the eye of the storm, all around you you begin to hear the desperate shrieks of the lives and the places it ends. And you begin to wonder, is there anything left after this? How many tracks are on the album again?


But wait, there's more! Two more, in fact, the first of which begins with a sufficiently-gripping bassline and hammer-drop artificial drums. Almost the inverse of the previous track, “The Four of Us are Dying” steps deliberately forward from the beginning, always moving and layering on the unease and the intrusion of the walls, before tearing it all down with an angry, disappointed guitarline. But without lyrics, we're left wondering what it's about. So much of the album has been thematically generic, and so far a full third has been wordless. What's this really about? What seems more and more like NIN's final album for the next few years, it can't just be about nothing, can it? Sure, it's free, but there has to be more than that.


And then there's “Demon Seed”. The drums pull you back and forth from the beginning, on a growling, wavering synth, threatening to lose balance at any second. “It keeps growing, and I can feel it breathe” says Trent. And how right he is. The intensity builds and builds, with guitars adding layers of pointed disgust as he forces out “I have been trying to tolerate you” like he's apologising to his lifelong nemesis. But does he have any, really? He's made amends with Mr. Manson, and his battle with alcohol and drugs ended in the With_Teeth era. And he's already free from Interscope, and released this album and the last on his own terms. But, you think, he has to be angry at something. This all has to be about someone. Who could it possibly be? And then you put the album down, and let that percolate for a month. You think about how the music relates to the lyrics. Everything is so immediate, so blunt, so direct. You think, maybe he's trying to talk directly, even candidly. Maybe he's talking about himself. And things begin to fall into place.


If the album is about him, then the songs must represent something. The title “The Slip” must then represent him. And what would that represent about him? Why, his apparent slip in songwriting ability post-Fragile. So, let's start from the beginning.


“999,999” builds on quiet pulsings synths that slowly seem to gain confidence, as Trent wonders how he “slipped into” this. And when he's cut off by a song full of his lyrical comforts, you see that it might be an autobiographical album. It begins with a cursory look at his beginnings – starting with an unassuming foray into music, he grows in prominence until he's swept up into the business before he realises what's happening. “1,000,000”, the sober look at current affairs, reinforce this and his feelings of being lost in the current music scene. And he has all the right to be frustrated. “Got these lines / On my face / After all this time / And I still haven't found my place”. In his desperation to feel the inspiration that helped him create his most-loved albums, he “jumps from every rooftop,” but ends up feeling even further removed from the rage. Unfortunately it only gets worse from here, as he tells us the price of putting your emotions on a pedestal and being able to satisfy everyone who's listening except yourself. “Put the gun in my mouth” he sarcastically asks of us - “Close your eyes, blow my ****ing brains out” - and he knows that when we do, we will react the same way we always do. “Pretty patterns on the floor / That's enough for you, but I still want more”.


So what, then, are the other songs about? Well, “Letting You” is the “Year Zero” chapter of his recent history. “Discipline” is the now-public realisation that, without fans and critics to bound it, Trent's writing would be too self-indulgent for anybody but himself. “Echoplex” is about the feeling of safety he finds in studio work, and how critics and Internet trolls, now a legitimate psychological threat, will “never ever get to him in here”. And in this autobiographical perspective, “Head Down” takes on a striking lyrical presence. It seems to be a very personal and self-deprecating song about Trent's post-2000s artistic slip:


Hey you
What'cha running from?
All your hate?
What you've become?


Bet you didn't think
It would happen to you
All used up
Halfway through


But there must be a glimmer of hope, because he realises that what is around him isn't what makes him who he is, no matter how lost that may make him feel. He realised that With_Teeth wasn't who he was, and he didn't need to let it define him. So in this biography, his follow-up record Year Zero and its satellite tour arrive as the eponymous “Lights in the Sky”, a ballad about nothing more than being saved. “Corona Radiata” follows, in what could be considered the dream sequence that spurs Trent on to write Year Zero. After the months that were that album-and-tour adventure, Trent had grown very close to his touring bandmates, and in “The Four of Us are Dying” plays for us us the pain that will go along with that eventuality.


Which leaves us, again, with “Demon Seed”. Again, we still don't quite know what it's about. He's basically gotten us up to speed on his recent history, and he's articulated anger against everything already, so what is there left to be angry with?


The answer is you. The listener. Not every listener, but the ones who insult him seemingly without end. “I am trying to tolerate you” he says, but their continuation pushes him to a disturbing sense of calm and decisiveness. He says, flatly “I am reaching a point, yeah”, and when nobody believes him, he explodes. While the walls are rending themselves apart, he whispers “I will use my voice, and I will use my fist, to destroy everything I can”.


And look at what it's gotten us over the years. Album after album, Trent has proved his versatility and passion borne out of frustration and hate. For what seems to be his one true lapse in semi-visionary prowess, With_Teeth was still a great album. It just showed us that, rather than simply getting old and boring, he needs something to direct his anger at. With Year Zero, he had the government and society to be angry about. And on The Slip, he's angry with himself.


But he's also angry with his fans. Some planted a seed in him, through their behavior at live shows and their treatment of him in the media. And some have continued planting seeds, mostly by trolling him through Twitter and forums. Now we have seen the results of this unnecessary goading – he is starting to hate us, and he is receding. If we keep pushing, something is going to give, and that something might just be Nine Inch Nails. Maybe it's time we stopped hating and began appreciating. Then maybe Trent will find something new to be angry about, and we can all enjoy a new album, because he's still making great music.
 

PorkPi

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Last show I saw was The Mighty Mighty Bosstones headlining with The Voodoo Glow Skulls and The Impalers at The Fillmore, San Fransisco.

Great show. The Impalers opened and there always good. I was a little dissapointed with VGS's set, but they were fine for the most part. I've never seen The Mighty Mighty Bosstones before and I gotta say they're pretty awesome. This was one of if not my favorite live performances I've seen, so if you get the chance, try to see these bands. If you live In the CA Bay area, The Impalers play all the time and MMB is on tour right now, I believe, so you might catch 'em in your area.
 

swan_song1973

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEl44naGjDk

George Harrison - Let It Down

john was always my favorite beatle, but all things must pass is my favorite post-beatles album. the whole thing ebbs and flows perfectly and really showcases harrison as a songwriter. makes me wish he was still alive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpH5i3xD7tA

Alice In Chains - Rooster

I first heard this song on the radio a few months back and it completely changed my thoughs about Alice. Before Rooster, when I thought of their sound, I thought of the funk/metal/grunge mutation present in songs like "Man In a Box," but hearing a band like that using such a soft guitar and harmonizing told me there was a lot more to them than what I'd heard. And then it builds to something out of left field.
 
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