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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles









Crystal Castles, which get their name from an old She-Ra (of Masters of the Universe fame) toy commercial that boasted "Crystal Castle, the source of all power.", are a Canadian duo consisting of Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass.When the duo formed, it was almost by accident. Their first single "Alice Practice" was actually Alice practicing, she didn't know she was being taped. Once they had a few people listen to the track they knew they had something good and the idea of making Crystal Castles into something became a reality.

Crystal Castles are members of the 8bit fan club and use some interesting instrumentation when creating their sounds, such as placing an Atari 5200 sound chip inside a keyboard. This has been known to produce a sound that has been described as having "ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast pierce [the] skull with sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever". The album does truly sound as if you are playing Galaga or Contra on the original Nintendo circa 1985. Fans of 8bit Pop-Synth-Punk will be happy with this release but others will notice that Crystal Castles suffer slightly from the same sickness fellow Synth-Poppers 'The Teenagers' have, which is that too many of the songs sound the same. Let's go through the Pop-Synth-Punk list...Distorted screams (check!)...Sythn bleeps and blips (check!)...monotonous drums throughout (check!)...chopped up vocals(check!)...not much else (check!).

The album is not a complete loss though. There are some gems such as (my two favorite tracks) the dreamy 'Vanished' and the shoegazey 'Tell Me What To Swallow', the latter even uses an acoustic guitar (wild!). Many of the synth-tastic tunes like 'Untrust Us', 'Courtship Dating','Reckless' and 'Black Panther' have great bleeps and blips and even begin to elude to something more underneath, but in the end the album as a whole fails to deliver. I personally like all the 'Crystal Castles' remixes that have been making the blog rounds as of late, but I was really hoping for more from the duos first complete album outing.


6 out of 10

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Solcofn @ Bootie Boston!!! 5-20-08

I just got back from a 3 day stay in Boston for BOOTIE BOSTON.





Wow...I had a great time and everyone made me feel right at home!!! Hooray Beer!




Here is my set list...

AC DC - Thunderstruck (Tittsworth Remix)
DJ Donna Summer - Sweet Assed Child O Mine
Bee Gees- Stayin Alive (Teddybears Mix)
DJ Bigg_H - It Takes Tom (Tom Petty vs Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock)
Flounder - Justne Timberlake vs Biggie vs Aerosmith vs Run DMC
Kriss Kross - Jump Around (Dlid mix)
Soul Coughing - Circles (Propellerheads mix)
Eminem - Lose Yourself (Asnivor mix)
Solcofn - Drop It Like It's Phantom
Erol Alkan - George Get Your Freak On (House Of Pain Mix)
The Outfield - Your Love (Flounder Mix)
Unknown - Block Rockin Club Foot
Solcofn - Ok Run (Gnarls Barkley vs OK Go) *NEW*
Solcofn - Me Against The Rave Nation
DJ Steven - Power Countdown


Zebbler was into what I spun and had some really cool video stuff going on the big screen...so it all worked out...good times!


Here are loads of pics !!




























































































....and here are a few videos (sorry, they are kinda dark) of Kenlow and Lenlow doing the Midnight Mashup Show!















Looking forward to going back up later this year!!



Back with more cd reviews and music stuffs in a few!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

dEUS - Vantage Point








In case you didn't know, besides making great beer, Belgians also make great music. Particularly the Belgian three piece dEUS. 'Vantage point' is the fifth album from the Belgian band and it, just like good beer, is a joy to imbibe.

The album starts off with 'When She Comes Down' a song that sounds a bit like The Afghan Wigs and Tricky doing Country music. 'Oh Your God' has guitars and heavy drums that make me think of Ride from their Tarantula days and spoken word vocals that are often similar to something Lou Reed would do. 'Favorite Game' goes grunge with dark guitars and a very catchy, chanted chorus.

'Slow', featuring vocals from The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson, is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It's full of Damon Alburn sounding vocals and beautiful instrumental interludes. It then goes into a very somber chant like chorus ""We slept through a million years/ Lived through a million fears.". Truly one of the high points of the album.

'The Architect', with a multi voiced chorus, is the most pop sounding song on the album and in my opinion should be their next single. Smokers Reflect is another gentle reflective song that would be a great soundtrack for a Sunday morning drive. 'Popular Culture', the albums last track, has a similar uplifting sound to The Polyphonic Spree. It's filled with a sing along chorus featuring a children's choir and ends on a blissful high note.

This is a very good album and if you have never heard dEUS before, this would be a great way to get to know the band.

8 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement









The Last Shadow Puppets are Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) and Miles Kane (The Rascals). The pair were so inspired by listening to Scott Walker and early David Bowie that they recorded this album of twelve songs that are lush, huge in scope and full of wonderful melodies and lyrics. They also enlisted the help of the 22-piece London Metropolitan Orchestra, which is nice.

Many who are fans of their other works may be disappointed as this album is a departure from their well know sounds. The album starts of with 'The Age of the Understatement', which is also the first single. It sets the tone nicely for the rest of the album. I gives the listener a sample of the strings, guitars and sweeping vocals that are to come throughout the album. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well produced and vibrant the album is. It also really captures the feel of that 60' and 70's sound. Quite a few of the tunes could easily have been part of any James Bond soundtrack.

The tracks I would have you sample, to see if you would like this album, are 'Separate and Ever Deadly' for the vocal harmonies and great guitar work, 'Black Plant ' for the sweeping strings and catchy chorus and 'The Time has come again' for the great lyrics and gentle melodies of a sad lament (which is also the album closer) that seems to be based on a love lost (actually, the whole album seems based on it). Grief never sounded so good.

I am a fan of the "retro" movement that seems to be going around as of late (see other acts like Duffy), but I am also a fan of bands that pay homage to their inspirations without ripping them off. This album succeeds on that level in spades.


8 out of 10

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tapes n' Tapes - Walk it off









Someone once said that comparisons are a journalists best friend. If that is the case then take The Flaming Lips circa their album 'Here It Is', add a touch of Modest Mouse and just a hint of Stephen Malkmus from his Pavement days and you have Tapes 'n Tapes.

I was already of fan of their often blogged about first album 'The Loon' and I was glad to see that Tapes 'n Tapes are a fan of the mantra "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.". 'Walk it off' is a great second album and it continues to develop the bands sound as they travel all over the musical map. Not wanting to be pigeonholed into any one sound, the band goes from shoegaze to country to blues to indie to almost punk in the 45 minute plus length of the CD.

The opening track 'Le Ruse' kicks off the album with an upbeat "drinking at the pub" vibe. Then songs like 'Lines' and 'Anvil' slow it down and elude to an almost bittersweet sorrow that is inside Josh Grier , the lead singer. As much as you wish he didn't feel so bad, you can't help but enjoy his pain when he makes such heartfelt music. Tracks like 'Say Something Back' and 'Demon Apple' have the rhythm and vocal cadence that made me think David Byrne could have been in the band's CD player when they made the album. When I was listening to the Pixies-esque track 'Conquest', I couldn't help think that the song was dreamily calling me back to better days. There is truly a little something here for everyone.

I really like that fact that Tapes 'n Tapes use their quivering vocals, gentle keyboard, often insane drums and effects-heavy guitars (I swear I heard a xylophone in there somewhere too) to full effect. It really gives the album as a whole a richer and fuller sound. This is also helped by the fact that the album was produced by David Fridmann at Tarbox Road Studio in Cassadaga, New York instead of by their bassist in their basement like the last album (Not that there is anything wrong with that!). The album sounds better for it and amazingly still manages to keep that lo-fi sound that is Tapes 'n Tapes.

'Walk it off' is one of the most natural and endearing release I have heard this year. I expect good things from Tapes 'n Tapes in the future.


8 out of 10