Friday, July 31, 2009

Dissertation, Honey by The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower

"Dissertation - any formal discourse in speech or writing." The title of the album itself is a contradiction. Calling someone honey can be used as an informal term of endearment or in sarcastic sense to mock the person of conversation.

This album is a mix of jazz and hardcore punk. I tell people the music is as ambitious as the Blood Brothers' "Burn Piano Island, Burn" yet more fused with jazz rather than blues and only one lead singer that is more classic punk. Or Swing Kids meets the Blood Brothers. Either works. The guitar is the most bipolar part of the group, although the songs themselves switch moods a lot. The guitar transforms from really bright jazzy chords to just pure hardcore intensitiy.

The journey begins in a very jazzy keyboard part with a hot sounding black girl reciting poetry over it. Her words seem to me like a mock of society and what it truly is. A life based on illusions of grandeur and expensive items over real life experiences. This really hits close to the heart.

I feel like the bass really shines on this album too. The bassist just has a lot of energy and strays from the normal walking bass parts. The way I see it, the bass riffs hold as much ground as the guitar lines on this album. The Plot is just one of those bands that is a great group of musicians that just fit together. They do something that's already been done in their own different way.

It seems like the music itself is also a mock of society. A society where each genre of music shows elitism and favoritism, where the emo kids only listen to emo, where the hardcore kids only stick to hardcore, where the experimental kids see anything else as boring, where the pop culture kids see hardcore as someone screaming at them and where the jazz kids see everything as a contest of scales and music theory. This album feels like it brings all of those kids into a room and says, "Quit with the cliques, love music and rock out!"

Dissertation, Honey by The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower

Friday, July 24, 2009

William Basinski - The Disintigration Loops I-IV

The typical images of nature presented in art are static. Poetry and paintings render a single scene, a moment captured outside of the decay of time. Here, William Basinski presents the cycle of nature in auditory form. The music contained in the Disintigration Loops is the auditory equivalent of struggle in life. Fuzz and static pulls at the warm, looping instrumentation, slowly decaying in agonizing beauty. Not only do we witness the serene beauty of nature, but the poignancy of its death.

srsly its like life and death fighting each other.

Part 1 -
Part 2 -
Part 3 -
Part 4 -

Swing Kids - Discography

To start this off, Discography is hard to describe in any one genre. It spans from Thrash to Jazz Punk. For instance, the intro to the song Disease starts off with only piano and drums. There are some really interesting, dare I say, almost Free Jazz lines in the piano. Then the guitarist strums a Jazz chord which is sustained and then morphs into a blistering frenzy of Thrash.

I like that they did a hardcore punk rendition of Warsaw by Joy Division. It's a brand new song done in this manner! Not all of the songs have jazzy elements, but the band makes up for it with their pure energy. To me, there is nothing better than a band that is excited about what their doing. And that element definitely shows on this album.

The guitar on this album is sometimes reminiscent of the band Drive Like Jehu. But there are an innumerable amount of influences here. Vocally, this album is intense! Justin Pearson has my favorite scream of any hardcore vocalist out there. There's just a quality to it that can't quite be touched. It almost sounds like he's dry heaving, or retching, he's screaming so hard. He also has a great idea how to bring the volume down by speaking the vocals rhythmically.

Pearson really outdid himself lyrically. Almost all of the songs have very short lyrical ideas that are repeated throughout the song. One song in particular opens with the line, "It's already been said by every god damned one!" This statement sets the scene for this album. He then claims that he is, "Just another kid on the beat, yea!" Which makes so much sense. If everything has already been said, then every musician is just another kid on the beat. Yea!

Discography has lots of fairly short tunes, the longest on the album is 4:23. Four of the nine songs are not much over a minute long. Yes, I said it. Nine songs! This is suppose to be a discography people. It leaves you begging for more from a band that broke up 12 years ago!

I'm a big fan of The Locust. The singer from this band plays bass and sings in The Locust (along with a long list of other bands). Swing Kids didn't strike me as great until a month or two ago. I made an attempt to listen to a few samples on iTunes a year or two ago but was not very impressed. I finally decided to give them another go and actually listened to all of their songs. To say the least, I was not disappointed!

To be brief, this group had a greatness to them and still does. They just did a reunion tour this year and the reviews of fans went from "really, really good" to "amazing, totally unbelievable". I don't doubt this one bit and am severely jealous of people that were able to go. Had I gotten into them when I heard them a year ago, I would have made an honorable attempt to see the reunion shows they played this last May. *Sadness* :(

Swing Kids is for fans of Drive Like Jehu, Some Girls, The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, Refused, Orchid, etc...

Swing Kids - Discography

Emo Is Dead (1985-1999)

A fellow on by the name of withinasound has compiled a most extensive library of emo music.

Over 700 mediafire files, so break out your horned rim glasses and sweater vests.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tigon - 7" EP

This is not the band's first release. But I found it fitting to open up this blog with the album I'm currently listening to. This is a three song EP and opens up with a song called Proud Americans. The first 35 seconds of the song leave one thinking this is just a run of the mill punk band with hardcore vocals. After this the rhythm changes up several times. It's not until around 2:20 into the song that we realize these guys can really slow it down. It is a very sludge rock sounding song, not unlike the Melvins but with a different rhythmic element to it. It ends with a feedback loop which bleeds into the next song.

The second song is called Monarch, which is actually a remake of a previous song. This is definitely where I notice the better quality of recording, not amongst the other songs but from their last album. In their prior album it was hard to distinguish between the two guitars. But A/Bing this to the old version of the song, one can really hear both parts crystal clear now.

Monarch opens with a riff in 6/8 and in the second bar quickly shifts to 5/8. Wow, I love this song already. The rhythm guitar comes in with some real jazzy dissonant chords backing up the riff. Soon the guitars begin to harmonize the riff in a very interesting way. Around 57 seconds it switches gears to a dissonant ascending phrase. This builds up a lot of tension and makes a return later in the song. Between this phrase and the repeat there is a very jammy Refused sounding section. The song closes with a very dark ethereal riff that bleeds into a chromatic guitar line. The singer ends the song with the statement, "Everybody, are you feeling alone tonight?"

The closer of the EP is called Teenage Blackhole. It starts off with a few dissonant chords in 5/4. In the second bar the first riff of the song is played. It is in 4/4 but is so obscure that it makes one go back just to check. It's a very short song clocking at 1:04. I don't enjoy this one quite as much as Monarch but it's still great.

My overall feel of this album leaves me feeling the same about their first album. That is Mr. Howell's band Longtooth was much more inventive and entertaining. I personally wish they would have stayed together, but that's just how the cookie crumbles. Knudson goes from Botch to Minus the Bear, Howell goes from Longtooth to Tigon.

Anyway, check out Tigon's 7" EP. It definitely worth checking out if you like bands like: The Melvins, Akimbo, Some Girls, Botch, etc...

Tigon - 7"

More about the band:

Tigon is an independent, abrasive, punk band from San Francisco. The lead guitarist, Jon Howell, does the best mathy riffing since Dave Knudson (previously of Botch now of Minus the Bear). To hear this kind of riffage, check out:

Jon majored in classical guitar. Most of the songs focus on the talents and writing of this young and ambitious guitarist. I'm sure that the other members most likely have a say in the writing process. But for the most part it seems like he is the primary song writer.

The vocals are good but very secondary and rhythmic. I could get more into them if I had the lyrics I think. The vocalist purely screams in a Some Girls kind of style. He does have his own voice, it's not quite the Wes Eisold (singer of Some Girls) tone. Nor would I want it to be, although I like Wes Eisold's voice better. The comparison was simply made because they are very non-melodic screams. At times he does a spoken word phrases. I liked the singer, Paul Isham, of Howell's previous band Longtooth a lot more and wish they would have kept collaborating.

Slint - EP

Sure, Spiderland is a seminal album critically charged with the creation of post-rock. What makes Spiderland so great now is that pretty much no one ripped it off, so you haven't heard 60 watered down copycats. This trend continues with Slint's final EP; I have never quite heard music like this anywhere else. "Glenn" is one of my all time favorite songs, its haunting guitar lines and muffled grunts(?) from the vocalist make for one of the most haunting songs ever recorded. The second song on the EP is a reworking of "Rhonda" from Tweez. Slint extends the song by several minutes and adds a lot of noise based jamming at the end.

This EP, released after the bands breakup in 1994, represents a band in its prime. The playing is tighter and more focused than Tweez and even Spiderland, yet these songs are their most experimental. While it contains only two songs, this EP best represents all of the different aspects of Slint. Fans of the band will love it, and it ain't a bad place to start listening either.