Sunday, December 28, 2008


2008: The Year Of The Ambient Splash

Thank you Father Time. Thank you for your many blessings you bestowed upon my ears. Thank you for creating a year in which some of the best music I've ever heard came out. I am infinitely in your debt. Amen. 2008 was an amazing time for music. I would normally only do my Top 20, but I felt it necessary to mention all of the great masterpieces that became the soundtrack to a highly impactful year in my life. Underdogs reigned king, unusual noises were flaunted, a few let downs by unexpected artists, and ambient music, ambient music, ambient music. I knew I loved ambient music, but 2008 proved it as a certified obsession. #1 administered a high does of cochlea kinship through stunning melodies of grace and adolescence. #6 should have been #1, but was out shined by some delightful surprises. As for #21-50, are they any less important? No. I will write reviews for them in the near future. Until then, I have mini-reviews/genres placed next to them. Anyways, without any further ado here is my…

"Top 50 Albums Of 2008"
Please leave any feedback you deem necessary whether you agree, disagree, have questions, etc.

50. The Notwist - The Devil, You + Me
Indie Electronic Older Than Postal Service, But That Would Be The Best Comparison
49. Languis - Fractured
Shoegaze/Dream Pop (Not Their Best, But Still Awesome)
48. The Threshold Houseboys Choir - Form Grows Rampant
Electronic/Ambient/Worldsy From Ex-Throbbing Gristle/Coil Member

46. The Deer Tracks - Aurora
Indie Electronic Sounds Like Efterklang’s “Tripper”(
My #1 Album Of 2004) On Repeat
45. Max Richter - 24 Postcards In Full Colour

44. Lisa Nordström - 7 States Of Passion
Experimental Pop From Sweden

43. Syd Matters - Ghost Days
Indie/Folk Electronic From France
42. Fennesz - Black Sea
Electronic/Ambient Landscapes Molded From Guitars (His Best Yet)
41. Deastro - Keeper’s
Indie Electronic, This Will Be The Next “MGMT”
40. Sian Alice Group - 59.59
Experimental Pop, Both Psychedelic and Twinkly
39. Valet - Naked Acid
38. Michaela Melian - Los Angeles
Electronic/Ambient/Classical Jazz
37. The Sight Below - Glider
Electronic/Ambient/Shoegaze With A 4 Count
36. The Sight Below - No Place For Us
Electronic/Ambient/Shoegaze With A 4 Count
35. Lights Out Asia - Eyes Like Brontide
Shoegaze/Dream Pop/Ambient/Drum and Bass

34. Spiritualized - Songs In A & E
Shoegaze/Dream Pop
33. Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna
Experimental Pop/Worldsy
32. Peter Broderick - Float
31. Our Sleepless Forest - Our Sleepless Forest
Shoegaze/Dream Pop/Ambient

30. Port Royal - Flared Up
Shoegaze/Dream Pop/Electronic Crunchiness
29. Cloudland Canyon - Lie In Light
28. Portishead - Third
Experimental Pop/Trip-Hop
26. High Places - High Places
Shoegaze/Dream Pop Sounds Like A Sunny Day In Glasgow

25. Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow
Shoegaze/Dream Pop/Ambient Bliss

24. Woven - Designer Codes

Electronic Alt-Rock Where Deftones Should Have Gone

23. Grouper - Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill

22. Soundpool - Dichotomies & Dreamland
Shoegaze/Dream Pop/Psychedelic

21. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
IDM/Trip-Hop/Thick Bass With “Clanky” Elements

20. Son Lux - At War With Walls And Mazes
Part Notwist, part Gregor Samsa, part hip hop, all intriguing. Son Lux came late in the year for me, but with bewilderment comes appreciation. Which is why I‘m sure this album deserves to be high-up on this list.. Son Lux has opened for artists like Emmylou Harris and Sufjan Stevens, on top of remixing songs by artists like Beirut and Castanets. Ryan Lott (Son Lux) has many musical influences; his day job at an ad agency, his playing classical piano since age six; his guitar talent; and playing drums under the pop and jazz genre. On "At War With Walls And Mazes" Ryan mixes all of these elements quite nicely. Good chill-out, head-bobber, atmospheric-indie-electronic music.
Standout Tracks: Weapons, Betray, Stand, Epilogue

19. Nico Muhly - Mothertongue
Welcome to the future. This is Nico Muhly. He will be/is the direction of new classical music. He is, the “new” Philip Glass. I first came across Mr. Muhly from Ben Frosts’ music label Bedroom Community. I then came across Nico Muhly in Joshua (amazing score, amazing movie). Now his third release, second official, Mothertongue. Which begins where the 1976’s “Einstein On The Beach” left off, with a dash of Americana-folk. If you are at all a Philip Glass fan don’t think twice about buying this album. He’s worked with Philip Glass. He went to the same school (Julliard) as Philip Glass. He ISN’T Philip Glass though. Nico Muhly brings an interesting flare of electronics and vocal sampling that begs the attention of the listener. Be in a mood for abstract-classical music and give Mothertongue a go.
Standout Tracks: Mothertongue Pt. 1: Archive, Mothertongue Pt. 4: Monster, Wonders Pt. 3: A Complaint Against Thomas Weelkes

18. Christopher Bissonnette - In Between Words
When they find me dead, I want “The Colonnade” to be on loop. This is more than just ambient music, its raw amounts affection and despair. A Kranky release, so you know it’s amazing. At times sad, at times provoking, at times too human. One note, endless amounts of reverb, waves of synths, piano, and airy transitions. Next ambient album you buy, should be “In Between” distinguished and disconsolate.
Standout Tracks: Provenance, The Colonnade, Jour Et Nuit

17. Paavoharju - Laulu Laakson Kukista
To me this sounds like a child’s toy being played with over broken radio waves spread all over the earth. Pieces of scattered civilizations attach themselves to each other to create unity in dream like states. This is what Gang Gang Dance should have released. I‘ve never really cared too much for world music, and I wouldn’t consider Paavoharju true to that sense, but its definitely a cousin to the genre. Fairytale presence, classical gems, and worldsy influences mixed together by a “DJ Shadow(Pre “The Outsider” days) sound-a-like“.
Standout Tracks: Kevatrumpu, Tuoksu Tarttuu Meinhin, Ursulan Uni, Sumuvirsi

16. Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
Starts with a twinkle. Ends in a loud horrifying crash. I really can’t compare Fuck Buttons to anyone. Perhaps reminiscent of Throbbing Gristle? They are unique in a sense. But the sounds they play are somehow familiar. Mixing estranged guitar loops, “sui generis“ bleeps, and other effects nicely. In the background of the madness a small, but fierce vocal talent urges to rip past the “static“ sound. Fuck Buttons would be best described as an alluring desert made from layers upon layers of noise, brilliance, and annoyance or "Experimental-punk-tronic-ambient-world-noise music".
Standout Tracks: Sweet Love For Planet Earth, Ribs Out, Bright Tomorrow

15. Coil - The New Backwards
I’ve loved Coil for years. Since last years “Part Two: The Endless Not” by Throbbing Gristle I’ve been on a search to complete the entire TG related artists/side projects catalogue. This is a huge task, that to be honest with you, I doubt I will ever be able to conquer. Nor could I afford it. Most of the items in this coveted “true to the truest sense of industrial” catalogue ranges from $40 and up. Yeah, its ridiculous. And yes I am a sucker for wanting it all, but damn, ITS SOOO GOOD. Coil have this game they play on their fans where they only release limited numbers of everything. Making it nearly impossible to find all the great releases they have. Seek out “Selvaggina Go Back Into The Woods“, if you can. It’s an amazing live album. ~Thanx Mp3 Fiesta, Я люблю Россию. Look it up;) Anyways Coil released an album titled “The Ape Of Naples” in 2005, which is probably their best album ever.” The New Backwards” is simply b-sides from that album, that until now have not been released. “The New Backwards” is one of the last albums recorded at the original Nothing Studios(Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails) in New Orleans before Katrina destroyed it. It is also some of the last documented evidence of John Balance’s genius. Coil is not for most, and I know at times they can make the listener feel squeamish and uncomfortable, but to me, they are perfect. Experimental-industrial from one of the most important bands in industrial music history ever. No make that ALL music history ever. I hate that you don’t love Coil yet.
Standout Tracks: Ayor, Algerian Basses, Paint Me As A Dead Soul, Backwards, Princess Mararets Man In The D’Jamalfna

14. Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
This was surprising upset “#2” for me. In NO WAY is this a bad album. It’s quite astonishing actually. The production, writing style, thought process, ALL improved on this album. Compare this to any other “indie” act out there and it’s a 9+ album. Compare this album to previous Deerhunter albums, its, well, its “different”. As mentioned above production value has increased nearly ten-fold on this album. But it’s the “raw” “untouched” “punk” attitude of older Deerhunter that I miss. I am glad to hear this is still Deerhunter and not Atlas Sound (whom I also love). I had a fear he would just mix the two styles. Rather than straight forward lo-fi Shoegaze, its loud, up-beat, indie-oldie music. Deerhunter are still relatively fresh to the scene. And they are still emerging as one of today’s “most important”, yeah I said it, indie bands out there. Listen to “Calvary Scars II/ Aux Out” ..I believe they are just on the edge of releasing their opus.
Standout Tracks: Agoraphobia, Never Stops, Microcastle, Green Jacket, Nothing Ever Happened, Cicadas, Vox Humana, Slow Swords, Calvary Scars II/ Aux Out

13. Jacaszek - Treny
Listen to “Taniec”. It’s no surprise that Jacaszek’s “Treny” made it on a lot of peoples year-end lists. Distant mechanized-bells pulsate underneath weeping violins, plucked cellos, angelic humming of Maja Sieminska(listen to “Taniec“), synth thrusts, more plucked strings, and reverberated pianos. Compare this to Julien Neto. Or Max Richter. Or Arve Henriksen. Get a good pair of headphones, find a desolate forest, go on a walk, don’t return. You’re witnessing the most delicate haunting ever. And seriously, listen, to “Taniec"
Standout Tracks: Orszula, Zal, Powoli, Taniec, Tren IV, Martwa Cisza, Rytm To Niesmiertelnosc II

12. Gregor Samsa - Rest
If you haven’t listened to Gregor Samsa yet you may want to reconsider. If you like Efterklang, Sigur Ros, A Silver Mt Zion, Cyann And Ben, etc. you will find your new obsession is Gregor Samsa. “Rest” Is Gregor Samsa’s third full length. Once you’ve become obsessed with this album go get the “rest“, its all outstanding music. The same lush and thick layers that were on previous albums are still present here, a little more production value has been added. Even though this band has gone though nearly 30+ members they still grow tighter. Piano is the main instrument here. But it’s the small twinkles, plucks, slams, bangs, and held down notes in the background that create a gorgeous stage presence for all. Gorgeous and emotionally drenched post-rock. I expect these guys to be huge, and I could be wrong about that, but I shouldn’t be. It seems Gregor Samsa’s got a grip on me..
Standout Tracks: Ain Leuh, Abutting, Dismantling, Jeroen Van Aken, Rendered Yards, Pseudonyms, Du Meine Leise

Crystal Castles are a modern day Atari Teenage Riot. It was pretty obvious from 2007’s hoots and hollers that Crystal Castles were gonna blow up in 08, but I did not expect them to actually live up to that hype. Fun 8-16bit electronica bleeps and blurps over electro-clash style drumming with a dash of hardcore Punk and Disco. Great for the dance floor, car ride, morning get to work on time theme music, and any other fun event really. I believed I listened to the songs “Magic Spells” and “Courtship Dating” ten times in a row the first time I heard them. Oh, and don’t worry, the last track, “Tell Me What To Swallow”, will let you catch your breathe from the "dancey-chaos", ..only to take it away from you again. Its really hard not to love how effective this album is.
Standout Tracks: Alice Practice, Magic Spells, Xxzxcuzx Me, Air War, Courtship Dating, Good Time, Reckless, Tell Me What To Swallow

10. Monkey - Journey To The West
What a pleasant surprise this was. I have long considered myself a Gorillaz junkie. Their too catchy and fun not to respect them. On top of writing these incredibly awesome head bobbers they have also given us many other hidden gems. Check out “Hong Kong” from the album “D-Sides“. On "Journey To The Wesr", they pick yet another simian moniker. This is an opera, an animated opera. About a monkey’s journey to the west. Which I’m hoping comes to DVD soon. This is not stereotypical Gorillaz style. Its traditional Chinese-Folk music with hints of hip-pop and western classical influences. Really pretty music for a really pretty part of the world. This album was also used in conjunction with the 2008 Summer Olympics held in China. This is not the Gorillaz. This is Monkey, a concept, a journey, a breath of fresh air. Try out the song “Heavenly Peach Banquet”, if you are not awe-struck by this song, well, I just feel sorry for you, I guess. It’s great to hear major pop artists trying something as unusual and experimental as this.
Standout Tracks: The Living Sea, The Dragon King, Out Of The Eastern Sea, Heavenly Peach Banquet, Battle Into Heaven, O Mi To Fu, Whisper, Confessions Of A Pig, I Love Buddha, Monkey Bee

9. Twine -Violets
I was glad to hear Twine was still around when I read about this release. Their self-titled 2003 album was one of the first Ghostly albums I ever owned. Its basically ambient field recordings, with guitar, clicks, cuts, and synths. Minimal ambience at best. On “Violets” they redefine themselves as more than just sound sculptors. They are now wave designers. Not just waves of music, but brain waves. On “Endormie”, guitar plucks set a backdrop to a broken civilization, while the voice of Cranes vocalist Alison Shaw adds the always precocious/cute side she’s perfected so well. The sounds on this album are very smooth with hints of dream pop. From disturbing family moments, to moments of serenity. This album is all over the ambient map, it could make you paranoid, or it could put you to sleep. I’m right in the middle of those two. "Violets" was well worth the wait. This is superior ambient music to most. If you don’t mind, Twine would like to sweep you away.
Standout Tracks: Endormie, In Through The Devices, Disconnected, From Memory, Violets, Halo

8. Windy & Carl - Songs For The Broken Hearted
The only other Windy & Carl album I had was “Consciousness”, which is just ok. But hopefully, their weakest. I thought I would give them another go with “Songs For The Broken Hearted”. One of the best decisions I’ve made all year. Once again, another Kranky release that’s absolutely mind blowing. This is one of the most lush, brilliantly layered, one-note beautifully-held albums I’ve heard since M83’s “Dead Cities..” This is a slow-core band playing underwater on Quaaludes. If you’re a fan of Slowdive’s “Pygmalion” consider this it’s “Ambient Sequel”. If you are a fan of the Shoegaze/dream pop genre do not hesitate buying this. Prepare to be tucked in by Windy & Carl. Don’t worry, they’re gentle.
Standout Tracks: Btwn You + Me, La Douleur, Rhodes, Champion, Snow Covers Everything, The Same Moon And Stars

7. Atlas Sound - Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
I’ll go ahead and admit it. I’m a huge Bradford Cox fan. I can appreciate everything he’s done for the music scene so far. I can appreciate all of the free mp3’s he likes to give away too. I can appreciate that I have over 140 Atlas Sound songs. Not to mention the other 100+ Deerhunter songs. He’s released so many EP’s and mini albums on line that are just soo damn amazing. So I was extremely excited for this album. In no way did it let me down. I’ve listened to “Let The Blind…” the most out of any other album that came out this year. This is NOT Deerhunter. This is lo-fi dream pop experimentally influenced with somewhat of a garage rock aesthetic.
Standout Tracks: ALL OF THEM.

6. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
This was surprising upset “#1” for me. I knew he was going for more of an 80’s influenced album. I knew he could do it perfectly. He did, but it’s the monster epics and layered synths from the earlier releases that I miss. Saturdays = Youth has the same problem Deerhunter has with “Microcastle“. Great album, but compared to older masterpieces, a let down or “different“. I also believe M83 is just on the edge of releasing yet another opus. But in my opinion, the more I listen to “Dead Cities..” the less I believe it will ever be topped. I would like to say I am 100% satisfied with this album, but that would be a lie. I don’t consider it bad at all though. It's just really different from what I was expecting. I will have to say the vocals on “Up!” are a bit of an “acquired taste”. Other than that every song serves its purpose and then some. Another thing about this album is, although not as good as previous efforts, its got some of the most well written M83 tracks (Skin Of The Night, Too Late) on it. It’s a new “Dawn” or Era for M83 and I’m ready to join, but I might always look back and wander.. Ive seen M83 four times now, and I can tell you I am seriously obsessed. This may be my favorite band(of all time?). So I will always have the HIGHEST expectations for any new M83 release. I will forever and always be happy and /or obsessed the minute I hear about new M83 releases as well. IHEARTM83.
Standout Tracks: Kim & Jessie, Skin Of The Night, Graveyard Girl, Couleurs, We Own The Sky, Too Late, Dark Moves Of Love, Midnight Souls Still Remain.

5. Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality
Seriously why isn’t Sebastien Tellier more famous in the states yet? America is so far behind on amazing music going down in France as we speak. On “Sexuality” Mr. Tellier enlists the help of
Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. He’s on Air’s label. He was on the amazing Lost In Translation soundtrack. What about this isn’t getting through ?? Sebastien Tellier is a modern day revival of Serge Gainsbourg. Great moog-y synths, throbbing bass lines, Rhodes pianos, Wurlitzer organs, and quirky beats done only the way only a French man could. This may or may not be his best work yet, but no matter what this is another important chapter in the book of awesome French music. If you want to know what this album sounds like, check out the “uncensored” cover artwork. This music is so sexual and sleazy you may just want to wash your sheets afterwards.
Standout Tracks: Roche, Kilometer, Pomme, Une Heure, Sexual Sportswear, Fingers Of Steel, Manty, L’Amour Et La Violence

4. Rio En Medio - Frontier
I was introduced to Rio En Medio when they opened for Devendra Banhart. It was, indeed, an amazing show. At that time Rio En Medio had only released “Bride Of Dynamite” , which was terrific freak-folk gem. On “Frontier”, their second full-length, they have perfected a completely new style in folk; "Experimental Synth-Folk". If Midaircondo joined forces with Dead Can Dance sung by Marissa Nadler this would be their offspring. Pretty folk, great sampling, disturbing field recordings, non-sensical chants, frozen-cold synths, and reverberated magic. Please, even if you dislike “Folk” music, just try and give this one a shot, If you are an older, more comfortable soul, this should be right up your alley. Oh, and If your car windows are frosted over in the morning, take this with you.

Standout Tracks: Ferris, The Umbrella, The Diamond Wall, Venus Of Willendorf, The Last Child’s Tear, Fall Up, Nameless

I began collecting the Auburn Lull catalogue a few years ago. It’s all astonishing and beautiful. Lush, relaxing, conceptual, atmospheric-Shoegaze/dream pop. “Begin Civil Twilight” is Auburn Lull’s fourth full length, and to me, their most important. Like Windy & Carl's latest, this also reminds me of Slowdive’s “Pygmalion”, which is by the way, my favorite Slowdive album. Gorgeous synths, sustained vocals, slightly audible bass lines, gorgeous acoustics, and reverb, reverb, reverb. This would be in my top 25 Shoegaze albums of all time. My only hope is that I get to witness these guys at least once before I die.
Standout Tracks: ALL OF THEM.

I’m not sure if Azeda Booth is huge anywhere yet, but they will, and should be. Reminiscent of Mum meets Boards of Canada. But better. I wish all indie-electronic artists could be this good. Then again, for money’s sake, maybe I don’t. Tumbling toms, jangly percussions, bleeps, tweaks, cuts, and a truly “u-n-i-q-u-e” vocal talent. I listened to “In Flesh Tones” A LOT this year. I honestly thought, the millions of times I was listening to it, that it was a female. Turns out, there are only men in this group. I’m still not sure how they pull it off. Warm splashes of low end synths hit the shore of distortion. Washing to sea you and your complete attention. Warm poppy guitars hop and skip over IDM music, while broken toy pianos sustain a childlike melody. Four count kick keeps a family of "rogue" claps together. Warbly, touching vocals speak their mind to the face of beautiful/musical tranquility. Jazz inspired pieces run face first into distortion coming out the other end an overpowering rock-tronic monster. It’s just so damn warm and inviting. All people interested in soothing their “ear-souls” here is your answer. “Brown Sun” may be the closest feeling to dipping yourself into an isolation tank that wipes you clean of all bad energy and leaves you adrift in space. This is one of the most comforting albums I have. The worst thing about this album, it ends. BUY THIS NOW. These young lads have a bright future ahead of themselves.
Standout Tracks: ALL OF THEM.

...and the #1 Album of 2008 is...

1. Miko - Parade
You have no idea what you're getting yourselve into. Once Miko’s “Enchanting Magic-Spell” begins it won’t let go until the end. Your memory will be scarred with relaxation and youthful curiosity. You will only want more. Sound is bent and blended over guitar loops. Playful twinkles and windy atmospheres act as elements of glitter shaken from Rie Mitsutake over indulgent voice. There aren’t necessarily “real” lyrics throughout “Parade‘s” entirety but there’s a better sense of story telling then if there were more. There's lots of humming, and chanting. The drumming on this album can go from perfect simplicity to youthful playfulness. This is the most relaxing lullaby you can ever give to yourself. I had one of those “moments” I always talk about with this album. “Jagajaga” is one of the best tracks of the year. A surge of Krautrock is trying to escape underneath a modern electronic landscape. “A.M.” seems like the good theme song to start or end a day that was/will be pleasing to you. I hate when people tell me I’m acting like a child. It’s acting like a child that I think truly gave Rie Mitsutake her inspiration to create “Parade“. I get chills thinking to myself how 100% perfect this album is. File this beauty under one of the cutest/most relaxing albums you will ever hear. Gorgeous mind-altering tranquility, manifested through a truly adolescent individual with enough intellect and sensitivity to stop anyone dead in their tracks. Thank you Miko, I owe you one.
Standout Tracks: ALL OF THEM. I WANT MORE.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

REVIEW: Einsturzende Neubauten - Five On The Open Ended Richter Scale

7 out of 10

Of all my favorite bands Einsturzende Neubauten is easily the hardest to spell. If you haven't gotten into this prolific industrial band, you are missing out. Although fair warning, Einsturzende are a great example of "be moved or remove" listening. They make their sound from banging on sheet metal, power saws, drills, chains or whatever is made handy. Sound is music, is sound. They also utilize strings and Blixa's banged on guitar. Just about everything is used somewhat rhythmically.

This album isn't my favorite because it's just really great, instead of being totally amazing. It's structured more around Blixa's vocals and just doesn't have as much sonic force as some of their other releases. Slow and more atmospheric isn't a bad thing, but once you've heard these guys blast out it just doesn't have as much impact. This band really makes me wish I could speak German. The atmosphere of "Zwoelf Staedte" is that of being dragged into a long black hole of horror. Not that they don't have their beautiful moments. Like the track after "Keine Schoenheit Ohne Gefahr". It's still brutal, but it's a ballad none the less. The album ends with the sound of an approaching high none gun duel. It clips along and ends with a snarl.

Bottom Line: If you're a big fan of industrial music, german music, or experimental music, this album is for you.

Standout Tracks: Zerstoerte Zelle, Morning Dew, Keine Schoenheit

Thursday, December 25, 2008

F!@#$%^ kill me before The Beatles reform...

AC/DC, Queen, The Doors, The Cars, Alice In Chains, Journey, Led Zeppelin, and the eight different versions of Pink Floyd. Fucking let it go! I know modern popular music sucks Satan's left tit, but c'mon guys. Your movements are dead, your lead singers are dead. Quit, fucking give it up. It's Christmas. I want to sleep at night knowing that the Rolling Stones will all be dead before I'm old enough to think they still sound cool live. You money grumbling bastards are tarnishing your name. Nirvana or The Beatles don't start walking around because people know they'll just suck. The only people who give a fuck about Paul McCartney are the tabloids and the four remaining Wing fans. Only reason people give a fuck-shit about Nirvana anymore is because Ole' Kurt died at the height of his fame and influence. We don't need another AC/DC album. Honestly I don't even need Chinese Democracy. Your time has past. Let it be. For John's sake.

The Knife Lend "The Captain " To "9"? Huh?

That's right! It seems The Knife have given permission to Tim Burton (Beetlejuice) & Timur Bekmambekov's (Wanted) newest movie, simply titled "9", to use 2006's Silent Shout track "The Captain". This looks like an amazing animated movie! Almost reminds me of Oddworld..remember that Play Station game? I can't wait to see it (but I'll have to, until September 09!), especially now that its backed by my favorite Silent Shout track;)

Check out the preview HERE.

REVIEW: Glasvegas - Glasvegas

8 out of 10

Have you ever thought what the heroin addicts from Trainspotting would sound like today, if they sobered up and started a band? Glasvegas, is to me, the answer to that most sought after of questions. Glasvegas started playing gigs in 2000 in Glasgow but hail from the industrial township of Glaswegian. They didn't release any recorded material until 2006. It is evident from their sound they spent those six years refining their sound, and by 2007 were on some of the best songs of 2007 lists with "Daddy's Gone". Glasvegas are intense young folk who ooze humanity. 'Flowers and Football Tops' which addresses the death of 15-year-old Kriss Donald, who was kidnapped near his home and murdered by five men. It is incredibly poignant, especially when, five minutes in, the guitars fall away and Allan, gently, croons, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine/ You make me happy when skies are grey" they continue again on the song stabbed wherein the quartet slow the tempo and confront the subject from which there is no respite. 'I'm gonna get stabbed,' says Allan, matter-of-factly, over a piano and a hint of background hiss. 'No cavalry could ever save me/ I'm gonna get stabbed.' Not that all there music is concerned with the woe's of the murdered young men. 'It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry' is as sentimental as they come.

These are hard nosed softies grown much in sound from there day's playing rockabilly. Influences include Jesus And Marychain, My Bloody Valentine, and U2. The self titled album is heralded not only by many critics but by this loathsome reviewer as well. It's sentimental but with reason. It's growing in my appreciation with every play through. There are many comparisons to Oasis and Jesus And Marychain notably for the slow guitar build up and lyrical storytelling.

Standout Tracks: It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry, Geraldine, Lonesome Swan, Polmont On My mind

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

REVIEW: Talk Talk - Spirit Of Eden

9.5 out of 10

Talk Talk may be mostly remembered for their early synth-pop works. "It's my life" was a huge hit; No Doubt even did an okay cover of it. This album however, maybe twenty years old, but damn if it couldn't have come out this year. I picked this album for the first time about a month and a half ago, and I've seriously listened to it almost everyday since then. If I really like an album I'll maybe listen to it once a month. That should tell you how fucking great this is. The album is basically a months worth of jams sessions, recorded in the dark and taped together. It's got elements of jazz and post rock and it's fucking beautiful. The songs swoop in and out build and blow over. When they peak, it is heartbreaking. Mark Hollis sounds like he's just had everything taken away from him. "I believe in you" is the closest thing I could imagine for a single, and when it has the organ going is like a well placed kiss on the neck. Unlike anything in it's time, inspiring a whole genre of music, and still relevant today, it's simply a masterpiece.

Bottom Line: Damn it's awesome. A milestone in music.

Standout tracks: The songs bleed effortlessly into each other. "I Believe in You" is my favorite part though.

REVIEW: Snowpony - The Slowmotion World Of Snowpony

5.75 out of 10

I bought a Snowpony album for the same reason everyone else did. Because super groups always make you imagine a super spawn of the bands before it. "What if members from My bloody valentine, Stereolab, and Quickspace got together and made a record?" Well they did. They made three, and this is their first one. The CD came with a huge sticker on the front explaining this, and you can't get it off without ripping up the whole case. This is a great metaphor for the major problem with the album. If i didn't know who your members were, I would like this album a whole lot more. I can't help but compare them to their former bands. Snowpony, I know you are your own band. I know you should be able to stand on your own. It's the sticker that sold the albums, but its the sticker that held you back.

Anyway that aside, it is a fairly decent album. The music kicks ass for the most part. Weird noises and samples ( They sample everyone from Sonic youth, to The Sonics, to Blixa Bargeld) bubble underneath a nineties rock album. Katherine Gifford(the Stereolab/Moonshake portion) composed and sings on all the songs. Her vocals aren't dynamic and don't really work most of the time. She speak/sings over most of the songs, and it's terribly frustrating. Maybe she was trying to get her poetic lyrics across, but it's like they're standing still in the middle of a great party. Damn it mix them down and bring out more of the awesome noise.

Bottom Line: Awesome noises and samples, but rigid vocals drown the album. Ignore the fact that it's a super group. They don't sound anything like MVB, and mostly remind me of Moonshake.

Standout tracks: Pylon, John Brown(triumph march), St. Lucys Gate, A Way To Survive

Monday, December 22, 2008

REVIEW: Whipping Boy - Heartworm

4.25 out of 10
Oh whipping boy. You're so Irish. So damn....Ok. I'm gonna tell you right off the back, I don't hate this album, but I've owned it for almost two years and this is my third listen. Despite their horrible name, I ordered them off of Amazon because they got amazing reviews. Billy Corgan and Lou reed have both confessed love for this album. I think Lou went so far as to say "if this band doesn't become huge, we know nothing about music." Well, Lou I love you (I rhyme!) but I think your wrong on this one. Imagine Catherine Wheel, only much less shoegaze, and much more alternative rock. Sometimes, a little Cure bleeds into the guitar. Whipping boy has defiantly heard a U2 album. Not that they want to sound like them, I'm sure. Ireland has more to give the world than leprechauns, violence, and U2.

Most of the songs have great sound, but over all the singer overshadows everything. His speak/sing vocals are just distracting. If anything shines on this album, it'd be the production. It's stellar. Everything is very lush, and they full. They even mix down the singer on a few tracks. If you find it cheep like I did(I paid a quarter for it), you might pick it up, but don't rush to the store for this one.

Bottom Line: Ok 90's rock album, good guitar sound, but damn I hate the vocals.

Standout Tracks: Friction, Twinkle, Morning Rise.

Friday, December 19, 2008

oops!brokemyhip's "Top 9 Albums" Of 2008

1. Ladytron - Velocifero
2. Beach House - Devotion
3. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
4. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
5. Midnight Juggernauts - Dystopia
6. Beneath the Massacre - Dystopia
7. Meshuggah - Obzen
8. These Arms Are Snakes - Tail Swallower & Dove
9. Portugal. The Man - Censored Colors

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brian Eno To Score A Movie?

Brian Eno Scoring New Peter Jackson Movie

Film adaptation of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones due next year

After spending time putting his stamp on various
small screens and shiny discs, Brian Eno is hitting the big screen. Upcoming Film Scores reports that Eno will contribute original music to The Lovely Bones, the film adaptation of Alice Sebold's 2004 novel. (Via The Playlist and The Guardian.) Though this information has yet to be confirmed, Eno did mention that he was scoring The Lovely Bones in a recent interview with Abu Dhabi paper The National.

The film is directed by Peter Jackson (Dead Alive) and stars Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, and Stanley Tucci, according to IMDB. It's a story about a family coping with a daughter's rape and murder, as narrated by the daughter herself, from heaven. But will it have a guy chopping up dead people with a lawnmower?? The Lovely Bones is set to hit theaters in December 2009.


Animal Collective Release Parties

Animal Collective’s 9th full length album, "Merriweather Post Pavilion", will be released early on deluxe 2xLP 180 gram gatefold vinyl with full album download (WAV or MP3) January 6th, 2009 in North America. The CD & digital release date will remain January 20th (Jan. 12 UK/Europe). To coincide with the early vinyl release they're throwing a series of release/listening parties across the country in conjunction with Terrorbird Media, record stores, and college radio stations. The release parties will take place at record stores or venues the week of the vinyl release and will feature pre-orders, Animal Collective listening party exclusive goodies including giant posters and download cards, ticket giveaways and grand prize giveaways of ‘The Domino Years’ prize packs. Every party will be a little different, and information on the specifics of each party will be available on the host’s website.

The Cities (so far):

Anchorage, AK - Mammoth Music & KRUA Present - Jan. 6 @ 5PM
Atlanta, GA - Criminal Records Presents - Jan. 1st @ 4PM
Austin, TX - End Of And Ear Records & KVRX Present - Jan. 3 @ 4PM
Bloomington, IN - Landlocked & WIUX Present - Jan. 6 @ 6PM
Boston, MA - WZBC presents*
Chicago, IL - WHPK presents*
Cleveland, OH - Music Saves Present - Jan 3. @ 7PM
Dallas, TX - Gorilla Vs. Bear & Radio UTD Present - Jan. 5th @ The Cavern - 7PM
Eugene, OR - CD World & KWVA Presents - Jan. 6 @ 6:30PM
Lawrence, KS - Love Garden Sounds & KJHK - Jan. 5th - MIDNIGHT SALE
Los Angeles, CA - Fingerprints Records & KXLU - Jan. 6th @ 7PM
Miami, FL - Sweat Records & WRGP Present - Jan. 6th @ 9PM
Minneapolis, MN - Electric Fetus & KUOM Present*
Nashville, TN - Grimey's Presents - Jan 1. @ 4PM
New York, NY - Other Music & WNYU Present - Jan. 6th @ 6PM
Philadelphia, PA - WXPN & Repo Records Present*
Portland, OR - Music Millennium Presents - Jan. 3 @ 6PM
Raleigh, NC - WKNC & School Kids Presents - Midnight Jan. 5th @ Pour House Music Hall
Sacramento, CA - KSSU Presents - Jan. 6th 2PM @ Butch N Nellie's Coffee Companay
San Francisco, CA - Terrorbird, Amoeba & KALX Present @ The Knockout - Jan. 6th, 7-10pm**
Santa Cruz, CA - Metamusic & KZSC Present - Jan. 6th @ 5PM
Seattle, WA - Easy Street & KUPS Present - Jan. 3rd @ Neumos - 6PM
St. Louis, MO - Vintage Vinyl & KDHX - Jan. 3 @ 3PM
Victoria, BC [Canada] - CFUV presents*
All events are at the presenting record store unless otherwise listed.
*Location & Date TBA
** w/ Maus Haus, French Miami

Many more cities to be confirmed, stay tuned.

Yay! Im sooo excited for this album..!

REVIEW: Murcof - Remembranza

7.75 out of 10

I've just recently discovered the genius that is Murcof. I'm already head over heels infactuated with this guys writing style. Possibly one of the best/most unique electronic ambient artists to come out in the past decade or so. Fernando Corona (Murcof) was originally in the Tijuana based "Nortec Collective(part of the Academy Award winning soundtrack to Babel)". Murcof's music is sparse, haunting, and beautiful. Possible comparisons would be; Arvo Part, Julien Neto, Lusine, Ben Frost, etc. You get the idea, minimal-emotional-electronic music with hints of classical composition.

Remembranza, Murcof's 3rd full length, starts off with what sounds like an old broken piano being dragged through an abandoned industrial warehouse. Piano seems to be the key element on most of the tracks. All the songs are very dark and murky. With hints of abstract orchestration loops, clicks, thumps, bleeps, and yes, piano. The listener may also feel they are watching a musical instrument being disected in the poorest and possibly most un-steril conditions.

Overall Remembranza is a solid flowing piece from start to finish. A great soundtrack to a lonesome winter night. This is haunting classical music with modern flared elements of electronic music behind it. Sit back, relax, and prepare to be haunted.

Standout Tracks: Recuerdos, Rostro, Reflejo, Rios, Camino

REVIEW: This Mortal Coil - It'll End In Tears

9 out of 10
Find it here.

I recently re-watched the David Lynch film "Lost Highway", this was my third time seeing it. I know why I keep coming back, and it's because I am so in-love with the soundtrack. But this time I wanted to try and focus on what is actually going on in the movie. I get it, I understand the plot, except for one part (the dude that videotapes everything).That aside, during one of the sex scenes between Patricia Arquette and Baltzar Getty, the one in the desert, I noticed a stunning/gorgeous gothic love anthem playing in the background. I knew this song wasn't on the soundtrack, but I also knew I had to find out who sang it. It didn't take a lot of research, as I knew it was either Cocteau Twins, or This Mortal Coil. Once I confirmed it was the latter half of the two I looked through my library and noticed the one TMC album I didn't have yet, "It'll End In Tears", was the one I was looking for. The track title is "Song To The Siren", track #2. I immediately downloaded the album, not knowing I was in for another pleasant surprise from goth/dream pop pioneers This Mortal Coil.

I love the other TMC albums, but this one may be my favorite. This album is very tight from start to finish. It has a good combination of both male and female vocals. It has wondrous layers of ethereal synths swishing and swirling over and under 80s industrial-pop beats and experimental guitar loops. It'll End In Tears is a good representation of what an amazing label once stood for (4AD). "Not me", a great poppy track, is the only song I feel that doesn't fit well with the rest of the album. But it's a good song none the less.

Let this album take you to a realm of dreams, romance, an maybe other celestial environments. Snuggle up to your significant other and prepare to fall in love with each other more so than ever before. This is quite a beautiful experience you should not miss out on. This is gorgeous goth/dream pop for the romantic in all of us.

Standout Tracks: Song To The Siren, Kangaroo, Fyt, Fond Affections, Baramundi

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

REVIEW: The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan

5.5 out of 10

Up until a few months ago, I've never heard and entire White Stripes album. To tell you the truth, I just didn't care. Nothing they did ever really grabbed me, but I decided to give them a fair chance. So out of sheer morbid curiosity, I acquired everything they have to the best of my knowledge, and have been picking it all apart, and my final thought... still bored.

For starters, I have friends who've hyped them up for some time now. So maybe I was waiting for some inevitable mind-blowing awesomeness, but the novelty of the significantly small number of band members (2) wore thin rather quick. Now they do try to spice it up a bit by tinkering with piano, xylophones, etc... And they do have some catchy up-tempo songs. But still. The only time I could see really getting into their music is if it were being blasted at a party by a distant unknown source or any other alcohol filled situation where simplicity suffices. Plus, not a fan of the vocals. To me, they just sound, dunno, kinda lazy?

I wish I could get a hold of Jack White, give him whiskey, extract the country undertones, slap him in the face and yell "QUIT FARTIN' AROUND!" Or I'll just go listen to Wolfmother.

"Get Behind Me Satan" in particular kicks off with a great up-beat rock song but follows up with a slow, beat-less pile of randomness with a few odd-time drum fills. Which in turn is followed up by another standout track. Which in turn is followed up with a dreary ballad, which in turn is followed up by another standout track, etc... (again, not a fan of inconsistency) If you really picked it apart, I'm sure almost anyone can find something they like in here. But it truly is hit and miss. Once I've soaked everything in, I think I'd be better off just burning a mix of their standouts and calling it a day.

Standout Tracks: Blue Orchid, My Doorbell, Little Ghost

The Hills Are Alive...

Last fall, in the midst of my psychology class, i was researching a paper and looking through one of my new favorite magazines, Psychology Today. I stumbled upon a great article about Iceland entitled Magic Kingdom, which caught my eye since at the time I was balls-deep into Sigur Rós' newest album. Already provided with a lush, ambient, shoegazey backdrop, I automatically transported myself to this place as I often do with whatever I read. If your the same way, pack your bags...

Global Psyche: Magic Kingdom
In Iceland, The Land Of Elves, You're Never Alone.

For many Icelanders, elves don't just live in fairy tales. They dwell in hills and valleys, rocks and flowers, and even houses. Some reside on Álfhólsvegur (Elf Hill Road), a street in the town of Kópavogur. Others live at the Icelandic Elf School, which offers a nonacademic diploma in Elf Studies and leads an elf hunt in the nation's capital, Reykjavik.

Bearing no resemblance to Keebler characters, the huldufólk are human in size and appearance. Only, Icelanders believe, they are better-dressed, wear ornate jewelry, and form their own churches.

Only 3 percent of Icelanders lay claim to personal encounters, but 8 percent believe in them outright and 54 percent won't deny their existence, reveals a poll conducted in 2007 by Terry Gunnell, head of folkloristics at the University of Iceland. "Rather than believe," he explains, "they don't disbelieve."

Fearing curses, even skeptics go to great lengths to protect the hidden people. Patches of grass suspected to house invisible residents are left un-mowed. To avoid removal of inhabited "elf stones," the general public can petition to divert roads and halt construction of buildings. "The Icelandic government wants to make sure that people with different beliefs are taken care of," says filmmaker Nisha Inalsingh, who explores the phenomenon in her documentary Huldufólk 102.

The huldufólk (hidden people) come in many different varieties, a few include:

  • Blómálfar: Flower elves
  • Búálfar: House elves
  • Ættarfylgjur: Family spirits
  • Fylgjur: Guardian angels, accompanying spirits

View the entire article here.

Psychology Today Magazine,

May/Jun 2008Last Reviewed 8 Jul 2008

Article ID: 4595

As if my love of this country couldn't get any deeper. The humble people of Iceland actually petition to divert roads and halt construction to protect acres of sacred, un-mowed patches of folklore. Here in the hustle and bustle of city life, one may scoff at the very idea or at the very least entertain the notion of holding such intangibles so near and dear for a minute or two before promptly returning to their grande latte enemas and fly-by-night, touch and go relationships. But to LIVE it, you just have to respect the almost childlike ideals that are a part of their everyday life. It's also given me a better understanding about the music the country produces. The landscape and the lifestyle mesh perfectly with the lush, melodic eargasms helmed by the likes of Sigur Rós, Björk, Múm and so many others. I think we could use a few huldufólk in each of our communities. But due to the increasing the risk of getting shanked at the ATM, I think they'd be better off in a place where they are protected and celebrated.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

REVIEW: Guitar - Sunkissed

9 out of 10

Buy a pair of headphones folks, cause this sonabitch is going to please your ears the way you thought only a cheap hooker could. Guitar is pseudonym of one Michael Luckner, and man does he love his layers and layers of sound. Every track on this album has a thick gorgeous ethereal sound. If, "No space shall be wasted" is his motto, he executes it with brilliance. Most of the music seems to be made with a guitar, but it's twisted, warped, wrapped, and played back words. The "studio as an instrument" ideal is definitely present here. A simple drum machine taps out the beat, and singers Donna Regina and Ayako Akashiba provide a poppy, if not cute element. If I have one complaint about this album, it'd be it's length. Seven songs and a remix!? God, I swear it's not enough. Luckily Guitar have four other albums, and this is only the first. I really have to wonder how his sound has developed considering it's already so mature. "House Full Of Time", originally on a Slowdive compilation album, will be appearing on my mix CD's until I stop making them.

Bottom Line: Buy this CD, don't wait, if you love shoegaze, soft pop, and dreamy lush noise, you have to own this.

Standout Tracks: House Full of Time, See Sea, Bee And Me, Hot Sun Trail

Thursday, December 11, 2008

REVIEW: Psychotica - Pandemic

8 out of 10
Find it here.

*Pandemic*--defined in *Webster's Dictionary* as "of a disease, universal; widely distributed; affecting a nation."

Originally released on Red Ant Records in 2003. Pandemic was stuck in legal limbo for five years. Patrick Briggs, singer and conceptual artist re-released Pandemic on Halloween 2008 on Toxic Shock records. This is Psychotica's third and final album. These songs are Gothic in the true sense of that term -- sweeping, harrowing, romantic epics that, if they must be compared to anything else, are reminiscent of big-sounding, triumphant Goth opuses like the Sisters Of Mercy with a space age re-vamping. This album is largly influenced by his early-'80s adolescence: gender-bending and/ or genre-defying artists like Japan, Queen, Siouxsie, Devo, Bauhaus, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, the Go-Go's, Blondie--rather than the expected '70s glitter-rock influences of T-Rex and Bowie. The presence of a 12-piece string orchestra, as well as the setting where the album was recorded -- Great Lindford Manor, an 11th century castle in Milton Keynes, England -- also add a classical element to Psychotica's massive, orchestral sound.

Psychotica is not now, nor have they ever been a shock-rock glam band. They will go to great lengths to put on a great energetic and stylish show. Creating music with substance and mood, songs such as "Oceans Of Hunger," "Euthanasia," "Contradiction," and "Monsoon" give witness to there ability.
The re-release of this album came to me as a wonderful surprise, it wasn't until recently did i learn that this album was originally recorded in 2003 but it couldn't be more relevant then if it was recorded today right now in my living room.. oh perchance to dream.

Standout Tracks: Fools Gold, Euthanasia, Harlow