Tuesday, December 15, 2009


my life.

Check out the Modeselektor and Apparat collaboration, Moderat. It's seriously sick.

I'll see everybody in a week.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Motherfish #26- Fuck Finals So Hard

I’ve made a decision! I’m going to stop making promises because every time I do, I fuck up something and let you all down. This is my way of saying I still didn’t finish the review of The Great Misdirect and I have another playlist this week. Also, tomorrow is my birthday, so go do something fun!


1. The Heretic- The Sounds of Animals Fighting
2. Hermann Loves Pauline- Super Furry Animals
3. Imaginary Places- Busdriver
4. You Call Me Baby- 3
5. Sleepyhead- Passion Pit
6. Imitosis- Andrew Bird
7. Let It Go- The Reign of Kindo
8. Take Ecstasy With Me- !!!
9. When the Levee Breaks- A Perfect Circle
10- A Mouth Full of Hollow Threats- RX Bandits
11. God Send Conspirator- Coheed & Cambria
12. Apocalypso- Mew
13. B + T- Battles
14. Remember Me- British Sea Power
15. Sukie in the Graveyard- Belle & Sebastian


This one is a little bit more eclectic than the Thanksgiving playlist, but it's definitely groovy. Enjoy, and don't fuck up your finals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Motherfish #25- Live from Nassau Coliseum

So this past weekend I had the pleasure of seeing one of the best live performances in recent memory. Nassau Coliseum was lucky enough to be one of the stops on Brand New's tour in support of their new album, Daisy. All of you who are fans of Daisy should stop touching yourselves, Brand New was not the reason I was excited (more on that in a bit). What really got me hot and bothered about this show was the overall lineup.

Round 1: Kevin Divine and His God Damn Band- 30 minutes.

I totally missed his set except for the last song, and unfortunately I'm not super familiar with his material so I can't even tell you what the last song was. What I did see was a collection of enthusiastic musicians doing what they do best: having fun entertaining an audience. If there were any fuck ups in the song, they weren't noticeable. If the rest of their set had half as much energy as the closer, then it was awesome. Well done, sir.

Round 2: Manchester Orchestra- 30 minutes.

One thing I need to mention is how crazy-good the stage crew was. From roadies with the bands to the Coliseum staff, there was maybe a 10 minute wait tops in between performances, and that was awesome because the guy on my left kept trying to talk to me after each band and it was super awkwardtown. Anyway, Manchester Orchestra is another band on the bill I didn't really know too well. I had heard their latest single, and thought it was pretty cool. Remembering back to high school, my friend Armen spoke very highly of the band after each time he saw them play. "Armen, I'm trusting you on this one" I said out loud to the wind as I entered the stadium. Boy was he right! Killer performance, and tunes good enough to make them worth checking out (which I did). If you get a chance to see these guys, do it. Even if you're not into their music, you'll have a good time.

Round 3: Thrice- 45 minutes.

I was dying I was so excited for Thrice. Literally. Their latest album, Beggars, is one of my favorite new releases. I was really into them during my early years of high school while screamo was still the cool thing to do, but put them on the shelf when Vheissu was released (I have since then reconciled with the album and really dig it). But hearing Beggars got me back into them. I'm not the best at remembering set lists (gonna try to write them down from now on), so if you went to the show and I fuck up the song order, give me a break. They opened with All the World is Mad off of Beggars, and then played a song from Vheissu. After that song I turned to my friend Toni and told her that I doubted they would play Silhouette but in the event that they did, she would have to drive my car home because I would have passed out from shitting so many bricks. Sure enough, not five seconds after I finished my sentence I heard an explosive pound on the drums followed by those familiar chugging chords. Nice. They topped off with Artist in the Ambulance, another new song, one song from Alchemy Index, and then closed with the titular track off Beggars. Thrice was everything I hoped they would be and more. Five stars!

Round 4: Glassjaw- 45 minutes.

Glassjaw gave me an erection so hard it exploded. This band is almost as old as I am and way more badass than I can ever even dream to be. Daryl Palumbo has only gotten better as a front man over the years; the control he has over his voice is unreal. Every single member of of Glassjaw gave 100% to this performance. My highlight of the night was Pink Roses. Already an amazing song, seeing it played right in front of me was mind blowing. Whoever did sound at the concert hit his mark with Glassjaw. Every instrument was clear but not so much that it took away from the overall sound. Considering this legendary four-piece is one of the most influential bands still performing, it was nothing short of divine (ha) intervention that I got to see them live. If you ever, Ever, EVER get a chance to see them perform jump on it like a fat kid on cake.

Round 5: Brand New- 1 hour+

They opened with some intro thing and then played a song from Daisy. I wasn't too pleased. I was hesitant. I didn't want to get my hopes up lest they be smashed in front of my face. They played mostly songs from Daisy and Devil & God. Everything they played sounded great, I just wish they played better songs. The three songs from Deja Entendu they played (Okay I Believe You but My Tommy Gun Don't, Sic Transit Gloria, and Play Crack the Sky) were awesome, I have to say. It's always interesting to see how a band applies their growth and maturity to their older songs. The real highlight of their set was definitely their closer, Seventy Times Seven. Even though it's not my favorite off that album (Your Favorite Weapon), and it's one of Brand New's more overplayed songs, the whole band seemed into it and hearing one of their classic tunes really got the crowd going. The energy was high, they played the song flawlessly, and everybody was happy. Except for me. I was mostly pleased.

Overall I had a great time, all of the bands played well. Brand New was not as bad as I feared, but they weren't quite as good as I believe they could have been. Maybe they have legitimate reasons for making the album they did and coming up with the setlist they did. Or maybe Jesse Lacey just needs to put on some big boy pants and realize Deja Entendu was Brand New at their best. Eh, who knows.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Motherfish #24- Turkey HOBL HOBL HOBBL

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I was inundated with work this week so I didn't get to finish my review of The Great Misdirect (which will be next week). However, I got this for you:

It's a playlist. One that I've been digging lately, hopefully you'll enjoy.


1. My Body is a Cage- Arcade Fire
2. The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
3. Videotape- Radiohead
4. Slow Hands- Interpol
5. Fire It Up- Modest Mouse
6. 7/4 (Shoreline)- Broken Social Scene
7. 16 Military Wives- The Decemberists
8. Is This It- The Strokes
9. Off the Record- My Morning Jacket
10. Cape Canaveral- Conor Oberst
11. The Good That Won't Come Out- Rilo Kiley
12. Have You Forgotten- Red House Painters
13. Lately (I've Been On My Back)- BOAT
14. Blackout City- Anamanaguchi
15. Let Go- Edison Glass


Enjoy, and enjoy your day of stuffing turkeys, your faces, and your women. Bam.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Motherfish #23- Thanks Bryan

There are billions of people in the world who are cooler than me. Fortunately, I happen to be friends with many of them. One specific friend/person who is cooler than I will ever be and also longtime Motherfish support is my friend Bryan. You may remember him as the bloke who drove my spare keys down to me over the summer when I was too busy being a babbling idiot outside of Starland Ballroom to remember not to lock my actual keys in my car. Bryan's always been a great person to talk music with; I'll frequently bounce ideas off of him or chat him up about what I've been listening to lately, and he straight up tell me if a review is bad or if some band I've been obsessing over is actually trash. So, today I want to give Bryan the best shout-out I can by featuring some of his work. This isn't an album review but is a snippet from an interview Bryan had with none other than Keith Buckley from the band Every Time I Die (I told you Bryan is cooler than me, the most famous person I've ever interviewed was YOUR MOM). Enjoy the fuck out of this, I know I did.


Bryan: Alright, so you are Keith

Keith: Yes, I am Keith. I’ve got some ID to prove it.

Bryan: Hopefully that won’t be necessary. So you guys are on the Epitaph tour now. How’s that going and what’s it like touring with Bring Me the Horizon?

Keith: Awesome! These shows have been some of the best we’ve ever played, and we’re playing places that…I hadn’t thought about a headlining tour and I never would’ve imagined played them because they’re just incredible, like the House of Blues in Boston yesterday- we had almost two thousand people. It was fuckin’ nuts, so, I’m really excited. It just validates the record, really. I mean we put out the record a few weeks ago, and people are obviously liking it, ‘cause they’re coming out and watching us and singing along.

Bryan: You’re a big touring band, and at the shows you maintain the intense sort of screaming you put on the record. How do you manage to keep that up?

Keith: I think a lot of it’s mental actually. I don’t subscribe to the whole like, “after the show you don’t talk”, “you gotta drink eight gallons of water a day”. I just feel like being confidant is all it takes- and staying hydrated and making sure you get sleep. Today my voice is going a little bit so, I think my body knows, like I said with it being mental, I think my body knows that we have tomorrow off so it’s starting to shut down, cause tomorrow I won’t do anything. I definitely think just being confidant and…y’know…I advise drinking beer before playing. It’ll make you a little mucusy and that always makes for a better-sounding scream.

Bryan: It’s also probably also terrible Long Island weather. That can’t be helping…

Keith: That’s true. We are getting back to the cold weather, which is gearing us up properly for Buffalo.

Bryan: Recently you guys lost Mike (Novak) on drums. What happened? Was it a pleasant parting or is there animosity between you guys?

Keith: I dunno…I know that he didn’t leave on the best of terms. He was kinda forced into leaving, but I dunno man, it’s not like there’s any ill-will really. I mean, he’s gunna do something. I think he’s trying to get back into a band, so…good for him. We don’t really have anything in common so there’s no reason for me to pursue a friendship afterwards. Just kinda went our own ways.

Bryan: That’s good I suppose. I was actually watching a bunch of interviews of you guys…

Keith: to get geared-up?

Bryan: Yeah and, I can’t remember in which one, but you mentioned that a big inspiration on The Big Dirty was watching Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, which is a wonderful movie. I was wondering if there were any pieces of cinema that spurred on New Junk Aesthetic.

Keith: Y’know, I’m not too sure. I definitely think that Rosemary’s Baby was one of them. Just kind of the idea of it, and that kind of spawned ‘Roman Holiday’…

Bryan: Which really is a big departure, sonically…

Keith: Yeah, it is! I’m very excited about it. I think that the idea of stoner rock like that- just kind of like slow, drudgy stuff. We all listen to it but we’ve never really incorporated it, so I was really glad that we got to this time. I think that was due in part to the fact that our drummer, who usually puts the kibosh on any new idea we have, really stopped caring about the recording process, so we were able to experiment a little more. As Far as movies, I dunno…8 ½ was definitely a big one. Another Fellini movie, La Dolce Vida, was a big one for me too. I guess if there’s any movie that kind of sums up this record, it’s that. I mean, it translates to ‘the sweet life’ and there’s a song (on the record) called ‘the sweet life’. That was a big part of it. It’s like, refusing to grow up when everyone around you is, and the disastrous effects it has- just being the last dude at a party, just breaking someone else’s stuff…was kind of the theme that stuck with me when writing.

Bryan: Haha, that’s a great image. As far as recording the album, what’s it like working with Steve Evetts?

Keith: He’s a great dude. He knows where we’re coming from, and knows what we hope to achieve through the music. Very hands off. He’ll propose amazing ideas but if we don’t like them, he doesn’t push them, he just lets us feel out our own vibes. We appreciate that. He’s guiding us- he’s not making us go in any direction, he’s just making sure we get across the road safely.

Bryan: Now, on a lot of your albums you have a lot of big-name guest vocalists- Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage, Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Daryl Palumbo from Glassjaw…

Keith: Howard wasn’t even in Killswitch back then! He was in Blood Has Been Shed. I made him!

Bryan: crafted him with your own two hands

Keith:*joking* If it wasn’t for that guest spot he wouldn’t be in Killswitch!

Bryan: Do you invite people that you’re already friends with to sing on albums, or do you make friends through it?

Keith: I have never made friends through doing it- it’s all people I know. I was actually attempting to make friends with one guest spot- I wanted William Elliott Whitmore to be on the record, I had never met him before- it didn’t pan out. But, I’ve known all the people that have been on them, and they’re just people I admire, one way or another- musically, artistically, sometimes just socially, where it’s just that I love the dude.

Bryan: I know you’re very close with Dallas Green- which category does he fall into?

Keith: Finding his music, City and Colour, was at a very optimal point in my life. We were in Europe, and I was super fuckin’ homesick, I was losing my mind. Shitty shows, shitty weather, shitty conditions I was on the fuckin’ brink of losing it and quitting the band. Found that CD in our tour manager’s collection, and it was just the perfect thing to calm me down…hate to say the fuckin’ cliché but it spoke to me. So, we got home, and then we did the Warped tour and they were on it, so I met him through that and we ended up becoming friends. I think he’s one of the most incredible voices out there, I mean he’s got more soul in a dude that size than ive ever seen in my life. Little Canadian dude, he’s got so much soul, it’s amazing…

Bryan: Any bands that you’re getting into now, listening to a lot while you’re on the road?

Keith: Right now I’m listening to M. Doughty, who used to sing for a band called Soul Coughing. So that’s what’s on right now.

Bryan: Man, I listened to the cassette of Ruby Vroom (Soul Coughing’s debut) until it broke!

Keith: Oh yeah? I love that stuff! Golden delicious- his solo stuff- is awesome. But the thing is, it’s a lot of Howard Stern, so…

Bryan: On the M. Doughty record?!

Keith: Oh, no no! In the van. Pretty much exclusively. Band of Horses, I can’t stop listening to that. Kings of Leon I fuckin’ love. Just recently I purchased a new Health record…a Stone Roses record…the new Mute Math record…and Def Jux Presents 4 compilation.

Bryan: Any final words for anybody trying to start up and band and get into the music scene?

Keith: If you want to start up a band, you’ve gotta have nothing. You really can’t get into this game with everything and expect longevity. Pretty much start from scratch, and build it up from there. I mean, you can buy your way in, and there’s plenty of bands that have, but nobody takes them seriously. Just be willing to fuckin’ be twenty-nine years old, sitting on a bed that people probably shit on *gesturing again to tour trailer*, in fuckin’ early October, when you could be home, comfy on your couch if you wanted to be. Give it all up.


Thanks Bryan for hooking me up with that interview, Keith seems like as much of a down to earth guy as you can get, not to mention a total fucking badass. Check out Every Time I Die's latest album New Junk Aesthetic in stores now. Hopefully the Large Hadron Collider won't obliterate the universe before next week when we turn the metal up even more as I put Between the Buried and Me's new album The Great Misdirect under the microscope.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Motherfish #22- Le Poisson d'Avril

So I’ve got more than just an album to discuss today, and over the next couple of months most likely. Myself, my roommate, and our good buddy have begun the arduous process of adapting Forgive Durden’s Razia’s Shadow for the stage. It’s going to take a while, but we hope to perform it here at school. And while many of you don’t know what I’m talking about, or don’t care, the project is interesting enough that I’ve decided to share with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll actually enjoy it. Today’s album is… odd, to say the least. Odd because I can’t understand it. No, I’m not an idiot, it’s just in French. Or Spanish. Or both. I think it’s both. Well at least one track is in French and the rest are Spanish. Regardless, it’s good.


Este Mundo by Rupa & the April Fishes

Rupa and Co are quite a musical collection. I’m working with very little experience (none) with their previous endeavors, but I honestly don’t think that’s necessary. Este Mundo is not for everyone, that’s Fer Sure. Lead singer/guitarist Rupa Mayra has a background just about as diverse as Epcot minus the fireworks. She makes me feel super inadequate; I’m spending all this time in school attempting to master English, the language I’ve been speaking since I crawled from the womb, and here we have this lovely musician who decided that while she was in med school (yeah, fucking med school) she would not only start an internationally renowned band and tour the world, but would write songs in every language she knows. How many languages does Rupa speak? Well, the album has some Spanish and French and, that’s right there’re more, English, not to mention Hindi and the Roma language. Damn, girl. This raises an interesting issue; whether the music loses its validity when you can’t understand the lyrics. Hands down, the message is lost. But the idea is still there. What Rupa brings to the table with Rupa & the April Fishes is a multicultural experience drawing influences from the many different locales that she frequented growing up, and that comes across beautifully on the album. You can hear a pinch of France in C’est Moi, the second song, which relies heavily on the accordion to carry the melody. The same can be said for the title track, Este Mundo, and its Spanish-influenced horns. I can’t exactly reflect on how poignant or smart the lyrics are, she could be babbling about monkeys and wheat bread for all I know. But, when you consider how effectively Rupa achieves her musical goals, Este Mundo is no less of a success than, say, The Earth is Not a Cold, Dead Place, an album by Explosions in the Sky totally devoid of any vocals whatsoever. I enjoyed the album immensely; it’s a nice break from the archetypal band configuration of guitar-bass-vocals-drums. If you enjoy Gogol Bordello, you might want to give Rupa & the April Fishes a listen.

The Razia’s Shadow stage adaptation is an interesting project. We are working with the story presented in the lyrics of all of the songs from the album plus the narration and from that attempting to construct a rich epic focused on some of the specific themes like envy, disappointment, destiny, and love. Doesn’t that sound cute? Right now we’re in the process of writing the first draft of the script, which is progressing slowly but surely. Even though we have a lot of source material to work with, we’re still pulling a lot straight from our asses. Though the narrator provides us with some dialogue to work with, most of what our characters say is entirely made up. While this is fun and gives us a lot of room for creativity, at the same time it presents the potential to royally fuck up what is an amazing story. Some of the characters, specifically O, are more difficult to write for than others; they have such distinct quirks and tendencies that come across on the album that are very challenging to keep alive in our written in scenes. I can’t tell you how many times Ahrima has come off as an insensitive douche bag rather than a jealous lover. Also, as we write we’re jotting down notes for the choreography that goes along with the songs. This forced us to realize that the culmination of all of the theater training we have translates to jack shit. If you know anything about choreography and you’re interested in this project, email me at motherfishmusic@gmail.com, subject line Razia’s Shadow.


Alright that wraps up my portion of today's post. A few things from around the world that you all should be aware about-


The Jagafest has undergone a few changes and is currently not going down on November 20th. Keep your ears open folks, I'll update you when I know more. BUT!!! Tonight at Rutgers they are hosting some AWESOME workshops that you should DEFINITELY check out if you're in the area. Hit up their website (www.jagazineonline.com) for more info!



My roommate's band who made it to the Top 2 for this year's MTVu Best Music On Campus!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Motherfish #21- Back to Reality

Holy shit I’m a slacker. I know, I know. But I’m finally back into the swing of things, and, besides today’s special update, Motherfish will be updating Tuesdays from now on. I could launch into some epic tirade about what took me so long, but that would bore everyone but my parents; and I talk about penises too much for them to enjoy reading anything I write anyway. The short of the long is that I decided I would end the summer with a ‘Top 5 Summer Picks’….. and that’s when I discovered the albums I planned on reviewing were straight off of the poop parade; a constant stream of fecal matter being poured into my ears. Except for one, one was alright. Basically I had to scrap plan A and try to assemble some sort of plan B and hope for the best. So here it is, my brain child that probably should have been aborted (but only before the third month): The Four Worst Albums of the Summer Plus One Album that I Liked A Lot and is Worth Mentioning Bringing the Total Number of Albums in this Review to Five. Or WHARRGARBL for short.


#4- Octahedron by The Mars Volta

Now even though this one comes in at #4, in its own way it was the most disappointing. The first song, Since U Been Gone Since We’ve Been Wrong is a seven minute, twenty second epic that starts slow in typical album-opener style and builds up to a powerful ballad-esque song which could easily call the middle or end of the album home. And that’s the problem. This song SCREAMS Frances the Mute, my personal favorite MV album, and that really got my hopes up. All of their releases since Frances have what I call Donkey Kong syndrome: they’re all very GOOD albums, but not great. I really wanted something great. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but apparently I’m an asshole and don’t deserve anything (I’m looking at YOU Justin). Once track one has your expectations set nice and high, the rest of the album proceeds to, in an act of sheer cruelty, destroy them one by one along with all of your childhood hopes and dreams. It whispers sweet sweet promises of an excellent album cut with all kinds of incredible guitar work and beautifully atonal sounds in your ears and right when your neck is tingling from its hot breath it bites you and pulls your hair like an angry toddler. They meant well with this album, but it just comes short of what you want (but that’s assuming you want good music). Now if you were a fan of Bedlam and Goliath or Amputechture, then I can guarantee you’ll love this. How can I do that? BECAUSE IT’S THE SAME FUCKING ALBUM.

#3- Black Clouds & Silver Linings by Dream Theater

Dream Theater is a band I long since cast aside. As a guitar player and someone who is generally interested in music, I could appreciate the level that these guys are playing at. And then something weird happened. Every time I listened to them, I would get mental images of all five of them waving their dicks at me (no homo) and that got old real fast. Except for one album, Scenes from a Memory, Dream Theater became a novelty to me like Dragonforce or GWAR or Twinkies; an entity focused on the experience, with little real substance or value. But at least with Dragonforce and GWAR there are cleverly disguised elements of silliness that make them fun (Dragons and space penises, respectively). And Twinkies help me deal with various psychological problems. What this album boils down to is Dragonforce without the fun. I imagine somebody formed Dream Theater as a joke and when they told their buddies at Berkley about it, they left the joke part out of the explanation and just rolled with it. I can’t even point out specific songs for you because they all run together, all twelve tracks. All two hours. For fuck’s sake, you can only alter between tapping and sweeping for your solos so many times before all the math geniuses out there like myself figure out the complex algorithms used to compose Dream Theater’s entire discography and expose the truth to the world. They’re robots.

#2- Genesis Underground by Eye Alaska

If you remember Eye Alaska from way back when, they’re awesome. Yellow & Elephant, even though it was just an EP, was rocking from my speakers for quite some time. Naturally when news of their full length reached me, I was overjoyed. So, like a good little fan boy, I illegally downloaded the album weeks before it came out. There is one song on this album that is absolutely awesome, catchy, well written, and just all around a killer tune. That song is also the reason why this is the second worst album of the summer. The best song on the album is Roll Right Over. Again. Again? Rewind to 2008. Yellow & Elephant just hit the shelves and you read my review, so you purchased three copies, naturally. Anyway, you start with a song you recognize Through the Willows and Streams, the one that I previewed, and then work your way through the rest of the EP. Then, you hear Roll Right Over, and it’s smooth, groovy jams work their way into every playlist and mix CD you make. Apparently, so many people loved that song that they just decided to reuse it. I guess it’s been remastered or rerecorded or retarded. That’s not the only place the album fails, unfortunately. The unique sense of adventure Eye Alaska brought to the EP spiraled out of control, and it shows on Genesis Underground. The songs seem shoddy, and the album is like a golem, constructed from bits and pieces of different genres and styles laid out on a table and then duct-taped together. Just because you’re made of the limbs of several athletes doesn’t mean you’re going to be an Olympian. Everyone knows you have to eat their hearts to gain their power. The hearts dammit, the hearts! I’d like to quote myself from the Yellow & Elephant review, not to be vain but to point out how fucking good I am at predicting the future. So ok, to be vain. Anyway, I mentioned how Eye Alaska

“serves up an EP full of songs which really get me excited to hear the band’s full length when it finally hits shelves sometime this year. I mean, the flipside is I could be setting myself up for another traumatic heartbreak when the album is released and it doesn’t meet the ridiculous expectations I blindly set way too high because I’m delusional and live in a fantasy world where every album I buy is exponentially better than the last”

Go me.

#1- Daisy by Brand New

It’s bad. I tried, I really tried.

Well that gets the dumb albums out of the way. Next is an album from this summer I actually enjoyed!

Manners by Passion Pit

Passion Pit has been around for almost three years now and I wish I was cool enough to have known the name before this past summer. But I’m not. Manners is their first full length and hopefully not the last. It’s nothing short of a magical journey. Highly electronic, lively, and infused with pixie dust (I’m assuming), the album is light hearted and extremely smartly written. The song structure varies enough that the synths and effects they use don’t become repetitive or boring, which is good because the album is so stylized that any imperfection would really show. The vocals are airy, compliment the music very well, and, despite the high pitch of lead vocalist Michael Angelakos’ voice, they don’t detract from the music as is want to happen in other bands with unusually high-pitched male lead singers. Do you have any idea how many people feed me this line of bullshit: “OMG I LOVE COHEED AND CAMBRIA… except for that guy’s voice, it pisses me off”. The high pitches aren’t for everybody, I understand. Passion Pit is bringing fun, danceable, listenable pop to the masses and I predict good things for their future. But I did that with Eye Alaska, and we all saw how THAT turned out, didn’t we?


It feels good to be back. Be excited, there’s plenty of new, cool, hip, trendy, catchy, fun, enjoyable, good music on the way. Tune in next week for something you can’t even understand!

Here's a sample of Passion Pit for you:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Motherfish #?? Part III- I Am Jack's Guest Post Review

Ladies and Mentlegen, for your reading pleasure, JACK P, D.D.S!

If you are reading this, you are an internet user. If you spend time bumming around music blogs, as you are now, you have come across the term “lo-fi”, and, if you are like the million other ego-stroking art minors who think ‘Recommended Music’ on iTunes is the final frontier, you have no fucking clue what that term means. Allow me to enlighten you.
Modern indie music has developed into a sort of hydra; suddenly, there are indie sludge metal bands, indie swing bands, indie Indian bands. One of indie’s least recognized factions is lo-fi, or ‘low-fidelity’, music. Again, the only time you have probably come into contact with the word ‘fidelity’ was in that movie High Fidelity, the only redeeming quality of which was John Cusack looking like an Animorph stuck between the stages of human and basset hound. Essentially, up until the advent of true “quality recording equipment”, all bands were lo-fi: recording on 4 tracks and allowing ambient sounds to filter into the recording were part of the charm of processed sound. Only lately, however, has neglecting hyper-altered sound become a conscious choice, and thusly, the art form of lo-fi music is a new one. It is only art because it is a choice, not a necessity. So when that wangbroom in your music appreciation class tells you Pavement pioneered lo-fi, you tell him no, you d-bag, now remove your horn-rimmed glasses and fight like a man.
On with the show.
Here we are in 2009. Where to begin in a discussion of the best current lo-fi? Wikipedia has conveniently informed me that Portishead, Thom Yorke, and Of Montreal are all lo-fi. Interesting, because they aren’t. All three of those groups make extensive use of digital, non-analog recording devices, drum machines, samples, and loops, none of which are lo-fi. At all. Neither are any of the other bands on the Wikipedia lo-fi page, such as Black Moth Super Rainbow, Animal Collective, or Beirut. But fuck, I do love Wiki. Truthfully, lo-fi is the translated equivalent of your weird Uncle Ted jamming out on “I Shall be Released” in the basement with his war buddies; all of the creaking seats, clicking tape decks, and coughing bystanders left untouched. And to be honest, lo-fi wouldn’t even have graced the front pages of Pitchfork if it weren’t for one man who has single-handedly elevated dozens of similar sounding yet artless groups into stardom, if only by the relative brilliance of his music. His name is Justin Vernon.
Better known as Bon Iver, he’s a bit like the Abe Lincoln of his field. Log cabin? Check. Chinstrap beard? Check. High squeaky voice? Check. Match found! They would have been pared up on eHarmony in a better universe. The recent lo-fi revolution has its roots in a legend, the crux of which is Bon Iver’s first LP, “For Emma, Forever Ago”. Vernon went through a series of sad events (disease diagnosis, bad break-up, the usual), and in order to cope with the sadness, he decided to spend a Winter in his father’s deserted hunting cab located in East Bumblefuckingmiddleofthewoods, Wisconsin. He had no intention to record, but after a few weeks his brother brought him some shitty old acoustic and a four track, and history was made. What was intended for a self-release to family and friends ended up seeing a critically acclaimed rerelease on Jagjaguwar in early 2008, and the .00001% of the population who knew that Jagjaguwar was not something that lived in the jungle went hog wild. The album was incredible, and the aforementioned percentage of Jagjaguwar devotees were split down the middle (.000005% vs .000005%) over whether the crackling fires, squeaky floorboards, and howling wind were or weren’t a gimmick to disguise Vernon’s subpar songwriting. To those naysayers I say: pooh pooh. The buzz over “For Emma” threatened to devour the entire internet, and from that chaos was born a new mutation of an ancient genre, and lo-fi as we know it in 2009 came to be. Or, at least, popularly.
Of course Vernon wasn’t the first to dabble in this sort of ‘home recording’. One could argue that the likes of Cobain and Daniel Johnston got there first, but the actual public interest in lo-fi had waned to the point of nonexistent. Vernon breathed new life into what had been given up as a ghost, and for the first time since Elliott Smith clocked out, the phasers and vocoders and shameless Flaming Lips rip-offs were silenced as the observant public turned its head.
Still, I am hesitant to credit Vernon too heavily; he drew from a thousand sources, and only helped to shine light on what had lain dormant for years. Like Columbus, he didn’t really discover anything; he just showed it to people. One of Vernon’s most obvious influences was (is) Phil Elverum, the unsung king of poorly recorded music. I will further disturb you with my superlatives here by saying Elverum is responsible for the two best lo-fi albums, and everyone else is second to him. Even if no one knows who he is.
Born in 1978 in Anacortes, Washington, Elverum has attained but a small cult following who is able to look past his aesthetically upsetting vocals and detuned guitars. He has worked tirelessly since 1996 at remaining King of a very small hill, and the rewards have been modest at best. Still, to have added both “The Glow Pt. 2” and “It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water” to the musical canon is impressive regardless of recognition. It is truly retarded to make any foray into modern lo-fi without giving Elverum’s two bands (The Microphones and, more recently, Mount Eerie) serious consideration. At the very least, the best newcomers to the scene know who he is, and you ought to know your roots as well. His latest record (“Wind’s Poem”) is a fine starting place because, while it isn’t his best, it’s better than everyone else’s, and it is also a fine microcosm of the genre at present.
Right then. We’re sort’ve up to speed. I want you to be hip. You want to be hip. You have a cryptic tattoo of a Pynchon quote in an obscure language. Let me help you. This year, there are a few names being kicked around in lo-fi: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (suck), Vivian Girls (suck), Cold War Kids (sorry but, for the most part, suck). Occasionally I hear people referring to Black Keys and Deerhunter as lo-fi, but really, learn your genres. Real lo-fi isn’t Neutral Milk Hotel; it’s Dinosaur Jr. and early Modest Mouse. Who, then, continues this tradition? The crown is split this year.
The first recipient is a band called Wavves. Sometimes when someone mentions a band, it’s fun to yell “Hipster alert!” Yep. Wavves. Hipster tornado. Fanbase comprised of people who have never taken off their wayfarers, and a few fat Mars Volta junkies who want every pretentious musician to be a messiah. Wavves newest record (“Wavvves”, aren’t they just adorable) is an absolute clusterfuck of so-cal drum thump and broken Telecasters ran through ten million of those orange overdrive Boss pedals. The reason Wavves are so good is because they push incredible melodies through the grungiest of filters, and the results are so strangely beautiful. “So Bored” or “California Goths” played acoustic would be pleasing yet ultimately uninteresting; Wavves made a wise choice in music type, and often, the fuzzier the quality becomes, the more fun the album gets. Of course, their devotion to weed and fast food is rehashed and to be expected, but it’s been a while (probably since Eiffel 65’s heyday) since a cruising record has been equal parts style and substance.
The second winner of the uncoveted lo-fi dual-King award this year is Woods. The cool thing about lo-fi is that it’s only unifying factor is shitty sound quality. Woods couldn’t be any further from Wavves (as the names literally suggest, ha ha, someone kill me), and yet, they are lumped happily into the same bottomless trench. Woods’ sound is a weird, weird collection of drums that sound as if they’re 30 miles away, a singer who should stop inhaling helium, and the worst guitar solos since all of The Ramones were alive. And yet again, it works. Like Wavves, Woods’ sense of melody is so keen that the jarring aesthetic could not be bypassed as accidental. The rainy day, plunking acoustics and pathetic attempts at doubling vocals are so artfully executed that what could come across as vulgar and artless attains a sheen of unusual naïve luster. It’s not beautiful in the way Mozart or the Grand Canyon is beautiful; it’s beautiful in the way of two little kids seen kissing, or a man walking his dog in the snow.
Now my fingers are tired, so the rest is up to you. Lo-fi as a popular form of music is not likely here to stay, but forever and always bands are recording unappreciated basement tapes and collective efforts. So, make use of low fidelity music’s brief time in the sun, and don’t get left behind, or everyone at your college will hate you, and you will never, ever have a shot with Zooey Deschanel.

Bon Iver: “The Wolves Acts. 1 & 2”

The Microphones: “The Glow pt. 2”

Wavves: “No Hope Kids”

Woods: “Where and What Are You?”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Motherfish #?? Part II- A Quicky Becase I Know You Like Them

Hey gang! I got a little update for you all, just a little mini post before we get back into the swing of things. Summer is rapidly coming to a close, unfortunately, and the end of summer wrap-up is beginning to take shape (not literally, it's just a computer file, idiot). A lot of cool music found its way into my life this summer including new life for an old favorite and a release from two of the sexiest mother/girlfriend fucking rappers I've ever met (Color <3 Scroll). But in order for today's band to get the attention that is due, I needed a separate post. So let's talk.

During your life, you make decisions, form opinions, and you stick to them (usually). The worst insult is when a peer accuses you of not being original, the cardinal sin of copy-cat. It's like a death sentence, you become ostracized, ridiculed, and harassed verbally and physically. No? You didn't? Ok so maybe my time in middle school was a little bit rougher than yours (you hear that Brett? I STILL REMEMBER). The point is, nobody wants to be called out for following the crowd, even though everybody does it. Thing is, often times your friends can offer solid advice. Fuck, most of the bands I review were referred to me by a friend if not direct requests. I have a good friend to thank for today's band.

Fevers and Mirrors by Bright Eyes.

Fuck, Bright Eyes. This is basically the hipster equivalent of reviewing The Beatles. But you can calm down, I have nothing but mostly good things to say. The first time I encountered BE, I was a lowly freshman in high school, (read as I was dumb as dirt). I hated everything about this band. I hated the way the instruments sounded, I hated the sound of Conor Oberst's voice, I hated his lyrics, and I hated everything he and his fans stood for. Strong words, eh? Needless to say, my first experience with them would be my last for a while. Fast forward to the summer before college began. A good friend of mine who goes by the name of Jack P, DDS, inquired as to my opinions regarding Bright Eyes. I responded with calculated but still burning fury. Now Jack has a good head on his shoulders, he's a smart kid, and he's got a killer sense for picking out good tunes. So, when he started touting Conor and his kin as the musical world's sliced bread, I grew suspicious.

"Alright, Jack, I'll give Bright Eyes another shot".

Thank the Almighty Lord I did. I discovered what is some of the most well thought out songwriting with very honest, good Americana folk music. Now Bright Eyes has worn many faces over the years, each release being slightly different from the last, but the underlying tone just calls to mind images of Bob Dylan. And wheat. Lots and lots of wheat (sorry Brad). His lyrics are genuinely clever without being ostentatious and his songs are catchy without sacrificing quality. Fevers and Mirrors is definitely closer to the traditional end of the folk spectrum, with something like Digital Ash in a Digital Urn falling somewhere on the experimental side due to its heavy use of electronic instruments. And though I have since made my way through the entire Bright Eyes collection, I continually come back to Fevers. Its touching, its cute, and surprisingly astute in its examination of the human condition and how we respond to our own ailments and personal trials. It's a very deep record that probes your subconscious and also offers great insight into the mind of Conor Oberst. One of the tracks, An Attempt to Tip the Scales, actually has an interview with Conor talking about the record which is really, really cool. Conor, if you're reading, I FUCKING LOVE THIS ALBUM. It's unbelievable.

For your listening pleasure, Fevers and Mirrors, the album which originally turned me off of Bright Eyes for what I imagined would be the rest of my life and has now become one of my personal favorites.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Motherfish #??- Summer and Things Like That

Catching Up is Fun!

So I've been a little MIA, I realize that. Allow me to explain myself. This summer I opted to not go home and have a vacation, but to rather stay on campus working a full time position. It's a lot of fun, but the 40+ hour week took a little getting used to. That, and since I'm on campus I decided to take a class, get my math requirement out of the way. Sounds like a good plan, no? Well, when I have class twice a week from 7-10pm, I'm not quite as enthusiastic. I fucking hate it, to be perfectly honest. My professor is a cool guy, and the work is pretty easy, but DAMN it's boring as SHIT. I honestly feel no emotions outside of unbridled fury while sitting in that room. It's hot, stuffy, the desks are tiny, and there are a few people in that class who can honestly make me question the validity of my own life. Fun times. I guess where this is going is that the summer has been hectic and full of bizarre experiences (more on those at a later date).

But I still listen to music!

That's right! Despite my busy schedule, I still manage to throw on the hottest tunes around while I work. That's great for me. But since I haven't been writing any reviews, what does that mean for you? NOTHING! YOUR LIVES ALL SUCK! While mine is awesome and filled with fresh jams. I kid, I kid. I've been compiling a list of the summer's best new releases, as well as a few rising stars and old favorites. In the beginning of September, you can expect the Motherfish Best of Summer 2009 Plus Montreal Extravaganza! It will be a massive update containing reviews, anecdotes, pictures, and juicy steaks. I know you like steak!

Also, be sure to check out www.jagazineonline.com, a great up-and-coming magazine full of witty commentary, creative fiction, wonderful art, and of course music music music! Jagazine will also be running a review by Yours Truly in their August edition. Pick one up in you live in New Jersey at Vintage Vinyl in Fords or The Raconteur Bookstore in Metuchen; though I recommend you subscribe and get them delivered to you! But even if you hate me, still check them out, they're good people.


Hope you enjoyed my little update. Keep coming around, there may be some more goodies before the end of the summer. Until then, keep breathing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Motherfish #20- And Let My Army be the Rocks and the Trees

Album of the Week

So I had some sort of a specific kind of plan-like thing for this week. I lost it. I know, I know. But I have something for you anyway! Don’t you all just love me? This week’s band and I have an interesting history full of sex, drugs, and unreasonable quantities of books about science. Not really. But, consider today’s review less a cynical man ranting his near-worthless opinion about music and more a journey of mind and body. Now if you’re really good at picking up subtext, you could read those last few sentences as "IM A LAZY BASTARD AND FOR SOME REASON IM GOING TO SLACK OFF THIS WEEK”. Which is a little true. Basically, because next week is going to be a pretty crazy week around here (got a special review planned), I’ve been focusing a lot of effort on the oldest son that is June 23rd and sort of neglected today like the middle child that it is. Harsh, but true. Let’s do this.

Be Bold and Might Forces Will Come To Your Aid by Palma

Fuck this band. I must have listened to this album sixteen or seventeen times in the past month and a half and I can’t decide for the life of me if I like it or not. The conclusion that I reached is that whether I like the music or not, I like the album. Wait, that’s totally convoluted. Not really. This band brought an interesting issue to light; the value of a band beyond its music. I don’t know if Palma was consciously aware of this when they recorded the album or not, but regardless, it rewards you more for thinking about it rather than for listening to it. Palma comes off as one of the few bands who create music that, though great to listen to, serves primarily to convey a feeling. Basically the band cares about what I think when I’m sitting here playing their album. That isn’t me making excuses for shoddy musicianship, not even close. The quality of the songs on the album is basically solid, with a few pitfalls but mostly gems. Their lead guitarist, whoever he is, has some chops. As a guitar player, I can appreciate when a degree of technical ability is well blended with creative songwriting, so they definitely get the seal of approval for that. The thing is, despite all of that, the album can come off as bland or even cheap sounding, that is to say formulaic. Which is fucking bizarre, to say the least. The singer is another issue. He sounds like a strange combination of Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes) and Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) but a little more foreign at times. He sounds totally different on the last two tracks. I can’t figure out exactly what it is, but something’s changed. For all that the album does wrong, which isn’t that much, it does so much right! So, I’m willing to look past that. But I wasn’t at first. You see, this is what makes the band so interesting to me.

At first, I wrote them off as some weird noise-pop Radiohead knockoff touting around like their shit don’t stink and they think they’re going to be the next Shins. And even though that’s what they sound like, that’s not who they are. Be Bold has a superpower-like ability to blend in with whatever your current thought process is and meld perfectly to your natural brain function. You can throw this album on in the background and, no matter what you happen to be doing, it will just exist. It’s kind of cool, all things considered. They’ve got a pretty groovy sound that I would consider good to dance to, something in the vein of Franz Ferdinand. It’s clear what the bands intentions were with Be Bold, and they didn’t fall short. And though I’ve done my best to explain what I think when I listen to Palma, it’s still unclear why exactly I can listen to a band whose music is overall solid but not outstanding and still walk away feeling like I’ve experienced a work of musical genius. I recommend the album, because it’s not easy to like or hate. Listening to Be Bold is a good way to get a handle on what your musical tastes are because in order to commit to some sort of decision over whether you like it or not, you’re going to need to sit down with it and give it a few listens. There are moments when you cry in terror, but moments when you weep because of its beauty.

Yeah so Palma really got me thinking. Which is what I like. I enjoy the album because it forces me to really consider what I value in a band to consider them ‘good’ or ‘bad’. You’ll have to judge for yourself. Remember to check back next week because I have a really cool review planned. And also- FUCK I GOT IT! Ok, and the end of the album, for some WEIRD reason, the lead singer sounds exponentially less foreign. And his voice is lower. Erroneous.

Here, have a listen:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Album of the Week

Alright so I’m sort of back on a regular schedule. It’s nice. As I’m sitting down to write this, I’m at the end of a fifteen-hour day. Which, unless it’s full of hookers and chocolate (which it wasn’t) is never fun. The upside is now I can pay for food, and eating is sort of a hobby of mine. I don’t really have too much to say before today’s review, so I’ll share a nifty anecdote. I fucking LOVE my friends. Two Fridays ago I had the extreme pleasure of attending a performance of none other than Coheed and Cambria. The venue was close to my house, but still about an hour and a half away. Down I drove, my car loaded up with friends. In the parking lot I take my jacket off and put it in my back seat… with my keys in the pocket. And my doors were locked. All of them. Yeah. My reaction was to scream “fuck” as loud as I could, much to the delight of the gathering crowd of concert attendees. Simple fix, let’s call AAA. WRAONG. They refused to help because I wasn’t on the AAA account, even though I was registered to the car and there would be a processing time of about three hours to add me to the account etc etc. Fuck that. My dad, bless his heart, was going to drive my spare key down to me. But no, my friend Bryan (who oddly enough is mentioned a lot on here), the fucking CHAMP that he is drove all the way down with the spare, got MY keys from my car, and brought them to me at the door to the venue. Thanks Bryan, you saved me a 19 hour walk. On to the music!

Self Titled by Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground

I listen to a lot of music. I really do. I listen to music 90% of my time. Figure there are twenty-four hours in a day (I usually like to put something on when I go to sleep), well, that’s a lot of time spent listening to music. I can’t listen to the same thing over and over again, so I need a pretty wide variety of genres to get me through the day. Metal, hardcore, swing, jazz, blues, pop, indie, and every combination possible find their way into my daily life. So, it’s not that often that I encounter a band so unbelievably genre-defining that not only do I listen to them nonstop for a whole day, but that I am genuinely impressed. Today’s band, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, are genuinely impressive. Kay Kay was formed by Kirk Huffman and Kyle O’Quinn, both who are of Gatsby’s American Dream fame. For those of you unfamiliar with GAD, don’t worry. Even though that makes you less cool than the rest of us, you can still enjoy Kay Kay. They draw from what may quite possibly be the most eclectic pool of influences I’ve ever encountered. Honestly, listening to this band is a treat. Think early days The Beatles, but with a more contemporary spin (benefitting from a higher production quality, thank you technology) and just a tad more polished. I’m not exactly sure what I mean by polished, but its true. Trust me. A lot of the songs have a really nice groove to them, which I’m inclined to attest to the assortment of instruments. Trumpets, trombones, tuba, violin, cello, what I think is a sitar, and a flugelhorn. That’s right, a fucking flugelhorn.

What should one listening to Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground expect? Nothing. Any expectations you have will be immediately blown out of the water. I’m putting myself on the line here by recommending this band so strongly, but I stand behind what I’m saying. There’s so much going on in each song; they’re dynamic and engaging and every member brings so much to the table. Though there are only 3 core members, they brought on a lot of guest musicians, helping the band to diversify their sound. That’s how you get one song that could easily be off of Chutes Too Narrow (The Shins’ second release) and a song with a horn section straight from the sixties (with vocals to match, no joke). If you’re into new things, different things, unequivocally awesome things, and salads, this band is for you. Folks I’m serious when I say Kay Kay is really doing something creative and original, which is refreshing these days. The sad thing is, I don’t know how much radio play a band like this will get. Unless you listen to badass radio, in which case please email me the station (though I doubt Delaware gets it). What we have here is innovative music that deserves to be rewarded. I’ve tried my best, but honestly what I’m saying here can’t really do the album justice. The song I’ve picked for today is my personal favorite, and I believe it was the single from the album. It serves as a good introduction to the world of Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, but doesn’t quite represent the album as a whole. It’s a good summary, but every song still has the ability to surprise you. Fucking stellar band.

Few last notes about Kay Kay, they’ve announced that they’ve been in the studio recording their second full length, Introducing Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, which should be out sometime in 2009, so keep your eyes and ears open for anything more from this band. Also, I built my updating schedule to match my classes last semester, when Tuesdays were the best day to update. However, that’s really no longer viable. I’m going to switch to updating Wednesdays, which will usually mean Tuesday nights around this time, give or take a few hours. Keep breathing my lovely readers, and see you next Wednesday.

A Sample of KKAHWU:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Motherfish #18 For Real- I Am Disappoint

New Music Tuesday

Ok I know I really dropped the ball these past few weeks. School was getting pretty intense, and in retrospect I probably should have focused a bit more on my classes. I came out relatively ok, but there are some things I need to work on for next fall. Besides school, moving home and then back to school was, like the rest of my life, an unorganized disaster mostly improvised and approached with much the same “fuck it, let’s do it live” bravado that I use in most situations. I’ve learned my lesson well, however. I doubt my English 204 professor is reading this, but if you are then I’m still really sorry for handing you the wrong paper. A few things to say regarding the past two weeks: Diego Paulo deserves a listen if you haven’t already done that. The other band I was going to feature I found out has split, which is a damn shame. So, I guess it wasn’t so bad that I missed their review last week. I’ve gotten some good feedback about featuring local bands, so you can expect to see that again sometime, though maybe not a whole month. June is going to be a crazy month, as I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeve for all of you. Not to mention a wicked farmer’s tan.

New Again by Taking Back Sunday

I’ll admit, I’ve been a TBS fan for a while now. I have fond memories of watching the video for You’re So Last Summer and wondering who the funny looking black man in the video was (eventually I figured out it was Flava Flav, I don’t know how I could have been so blind). That album, I’m referring to Tell All Your Friends of course, still makes me nostalgia, and thus, makes me lose. But it’s a defeat I can comfortably sit in and reflect on days long gone. The next album in TBS’s career, Where You Want To Be, also had some shining moments that find their way onto some of my playlists. Louder Now was acceptable, but it just didn’t stand up to the other two albums. Every now and then I like to give Tell All Your Friends’ catchy hooks and moderately angsty tunes a listen, just to remind myself where I came from. When I compare it to the majority of what I listen to now, I’ve come a long way. And when I stand New Again next to its mates in the TBS discography, it’s obvious that they’ve come a long way as well. In a direction not necessarily relevant to my interests. New Again follows closely in the footsteps of Louder Now, not the MakeDamnSure footsteps mind you; but the trail blazed by the dozen or so other tracks that just fade from memory. It’s ironic that the title track, New Again, has the line “I am ready to be new again” because they’re not. If that’s what they were aiming for, they failed pretty hard. The album shouldn’t be called New Again so much as Louder Now Again. At least in that case, I would know what I was getting into. Some of the songs do have a similar feel as their sophomore release, the track Carpathia, for example, does a pretty solid job of taking the sound of their earlier work and tweaks it to incorporate the style they expounded on with Louder Now. And while Louder Now was a logical progression from Where You Want To Be (whether fans liked it or not, it made sense), New Again gives the impression that the band has reached a plateau, where they will sit and fester in stagnant bathwater surrounded by mosquitos. Like I said, Carpathia shows promise, and there are a few other brief instances where I’ll look up and think to myself ‘maybe next year’ like a child who only wanted one thing for Christmas, that one thing that meant more than anything else, and his parents tried so hard to make sure he got everything he wanted, but somehow the toy that was written on his list in bright green ink and surrounded by stars and unicorns somehow didn’t catch their eye. And the kid feels bad because when his parents look at him, so full of pride because they believe they’ve made all of his dreams come true, he’d be the ultimate asshole if he told them that they let him down. Taking Back Sunday, you’ve let me down.

Now I’m not saying the album is bad. There are some good songs besides Carpathia. The title track New Again is a fairly solid song; it’s bass heavy, which is interesting for a band with two guitarists. Structurally you would normally find this type of song in a three-person band, or four if the fourth member were a designated singer. The song develops into something a bit more expected of TBS. This is the song I’ve decided to present, not because it’s my favorite or anything like that, but because it serves as a representation of the album. The majority of tracks have the same kind of vibe and all have a similar feel. I’ll say this, the album doesn’t require much thought on the part of the listener. Its fairly generic alternative-rock-pop-punk-esque power chord and octave guitar riffs and high-pitched half-yelled vocals fade well into the background if you have to read or are on a long drive. The album is a crowd pleaser because there’s nothing special about it; you aren’t forced to decide whether you love it or hate it. There is a VERY distinct grey area here, and I fall smack dab in the middle of it. I can only hope that TBS was just experimenting a bit more with their Louder Now sound, and that any future releases will bring us back to the Taking Back Sunday we know and love. If you listen closely, there are glimpses of the old TBS to be had, so I tend to believe that despite this little foray further down the road to Generic City, the hearts of all the band members truly lie in their past and that that is where they are destined to return. But what do I know, I’m no doctor.

Doesn’t it feel good to be back on some sort of schedule? It does for me. So yeah, Taking Back Sunday. Whatever. Next week we continue with the normal updates, and then something special. June should promise to be a cool month for Motherfish. Be easy.

Here's some music:

Thanks to youtube user chilla124 for the song. I couldn't post my own because of some weird thing with Interpol or something. I didn't really read it beyond "you're video has been muted".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Motherfish #17.5- Sorry Sam

Unfortunately, my finals are taking up more of my time then I anticipated, so today's review isn't going to be so much a review as me apologizing for how much it sucks and then briefly talking about another local band I really enjoy.


I extend my apologies to Diego Paulo, an incredibly talented band on my campus, because they aren't getting the recognition they deserve. Their review happened to fall on a week when I have a stupid amount of work to do, and apparently I need a new upgraded version of Flash to listen to music on Myspace now, and apparently I'm a fucking moron because every time I try to get the upgrade my computer shits a brick and doesn't actually upgrade.

Diego Paulo offers some laid back, folkish tunes which totally kick ass. They're a talented group of musicians playing a style that you don't seen in the mainstream too often these days. If you're into Bob Dylan, Fiest, or any type of acoustic-rock, you'll probably dig these guys. They play a lot of coffee shops and local venues around here, and they have a great vibe. Honestly, now that I think about it, they utilize vocal harmonies that sort of remind me of The Zombies. Bands with multiple singers aren't rare, but they aren't common (multiple singers meaning the duties of main vocals are divided up among two or more band members), and it gives the band variety. I'm going to be honest here, Diego Paulo lays down serious groove tunes. For fans of jam bands without the boring repetitiveness, jam bands without the boring repetitiveness, and jam bands without the boring repetitiveness.


Next week when local music May comes to a close, I'll have some more followup comments about Diego Paulo, because this band is seriously fucking amazing and they deserve more than this shitty spot I've given them. I promise guys, I'll make it up to you!

Go on and check out their music. Holiday is my personal favorite song.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Motherfish #17- Friends of Ellen DeGeneres

Album of the Week

I need to start out by apologizing; these next two reviews (today’s and next Tuesday’s) are going to be a little shorter than normal because as the semester winds down, my workload is becoming near unbearable. If that offends you or makes you think that I’m a worthless sonofa bitch and my writing isn’t worth reading, fuck you leave now and never return. If you’re a decent human being with even the tiniest shred of empathy, go right ahead and keep reading. So here we are, the second Tuesday of May, a month full of local music. I’m really glad that I’m taking the time to feature some of these bands. They work their asses off to make the best music that they can and well I’m trying to give them the recognition that they deserve. This week’s band is a gem of local talent that I came across at school, and I have the pleasure of knowing most of these fine gentlemen. They’re currently in the studio recording their first release, but they deserve the heads up anyway. Yes, I know it says Album of the Week right up there, but this is my blog and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want, and I want to review this band regardless of whether or not they have an album out because they’re awesome. And that counts for a lot these days. ONE MORE THING before I get to the music. Actually it’s not important. But somebody did pee on my fridge this past weekend.

Dancehall Throwdown

I have a lot of playlists for different moods or for different activities. And, like the big loser that I am, I have a playlist called “FUN!!” spelled exactly like that. It’s got a lot of high energy bands like Blink 182 (who I am definitely seeing this summer, by the way) and Jimmy Eat World on it, but other than those two it’s mostly ska bands. Ska? What the hell? Is that even a word? Yes, idiot. For those who were actually asking themselves those questions, ska is a music of genre which branched off of punk and includes a brass section, usually a trumpet or two, a trombone, and often a sax of some sort. A few of the big names in ska are Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, and Catch 22. Right now every hardcore ska fan who reads this is yelling that I forgot to include his favorite band and is probably typing a very angry email. Don’t. I figured these are the most notable four. One of the more interesting facts about ska is that it’s a very well contained genre; aka a ska band is a ska band. There really is no discrepancy about it. You could argue for months over whether Cursive is art-punk or indie-rock or noise-thrash or goth-pop or whatever gives you a boner and never reach any conclusion (which is why I try and make it known that my categories are just rough ideas as to what kind of sound a band has). But when you hear ska, you know it’s ska. There’s no arguing about it. Because of that, it’s fairly easy to group ska bands together and talk in general terms. SO I WILL.

Ska is some of the most enjoyable music out there, the brass section adds a brightness and catchiness to the already energetic punk guitar and drums. Dancehall Throwdown takes this to heart. There’s a difference between playing a genre of music really well and being lazy. DHTD plays ska really well. They went with a larger brass section, adding a tenor sax and a baritone sax (a big one and a little one), which gives them, a much fuller sound because of the wider range of tones hit, something that adds to their overall appeal. I don’t know, maybe it’s because some of them are music majors, but they grasp a concept that too often a lot of ska bands fail to even recognize. Balance. Balance between the guitar and the brass. So many bands have songs where it’s one or the other and rarely do the two interact. DHTD utilizes a seamless blend of the brass and the guitar, something I greatly appreciate, and also it adds to the maturity of their sound. My astute readers just did two things: pat themselves on the back for knowing what astute means and recognizing themselves as one of the few, and noticed a recurring theme in the local bands I’ve reviewed so far. Maturity of sound, ladies and gentlemen. Dancehall has it. It’s what makes a band sound like a band and not a random assortment of musicians running around in circles with their cocks out. Although DHTD may or may not have their cocks out, they are certainly a band and they sound like it. Closing comment! Pure fun ska band with more than its fair share of talented musicians adding a well rounded sound usually only found in experienced, more established ska bands.

Unfortunately there’s not going to be a sample today, or next week, for time saving purposes. The good news is, you kind of actually get more than one sample! HERE is the MYSPACE link for Dancehall Throwdown, and I’m going to send you all over to their page to check it out. Listen to “Grogan”, that’s one hell of a good song. If you’re looking for a comparison, think Streetlight Manifesto plus a little Less Than Jake minus some of the pop-ish-ness and throw in badass guitar chops.


Check the shit out of that band! Join me next week for something completely different.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Motherfish #16- Homegrown

New Music Tuesday

I’ve got a lot to talk about. For starters, many of you may have noticed a Twitter post from a few days ago stating that the months of May and June are going to be pretty big. Let’s discuss that. Here we are in the month of May and this is going to be a special month. This month is going to be purely local music. I’m going to feature the best of the best from both here where I go to school and from back home. I’m fortunate to know a whole host of talented musicians who have written some of the catchiest, most earnest music I’ve come across in my life. These people are all really good friends of mine and I’m proud to call them that. I’ve seen them in concert, I’ve eaten meals with them, and I’ve even sat through classes with some of them. I’d do whatever I can to support them. Growing up, the local music scene was very important to me. Our weekends comprised of going to shows at the Elk’s Lodge, or one of the many Rec Centers in the surrounding towns. The first time I played guitar in front of an audience was at that very Elk’s Lodge. Having such a strong local scene was the best thing that could have happened; it fostered my love of music and my love of performance. It provided an opportunity for anyone to be able to be a rock star for a night. You didn’t have to be talented. Fuck, you didn’t even have to be good. All that mattered was that you were putting your body and soul into it, and if you were you instantly had the crowd’s support. Some bands from my area have made it reasonably big, some have reached moderate success, but most don’t. Nobody cares. We weren’t in it for the money or the success. We were in it because this is what we wanted to do. For everyone who was a part of that scene, for all of us who decided that we wanted to be a part of something big, for everyone who’s in a band that practices in your drummer’s basement or garage, for everyone who plays shows in coffee shops and considers a Battle of the Bands a big deal, for every guitar player who regularly fucks up at least chord progression per show, for every drummer who loses himself in the music and breaks a stick at the end of a performance even though he doesn’t have money to buy new ones, this month is dedicated to us.

All of my Pride by The Skyscrapers

This is a review that I’ve been waiting to write since way back when I started this blog. I remember sitting at my computer typing up my top 5 favorite albums and writing a tiny little paragraph about each one and talking to my friend Armen online telling him about what I was doing. He seemed into the idea so I offered to review his band when their album was finished recording, and here it is. Had it been any other person, I wouldn’t have made that promise because there would have been a chance of their album sucking so much dick I would have no choice but to write a bad review, and that would make it awkward whenever we talked, like I walked in on him masturbating or something. The only reason why I did was because I know Armen, and I know how talented this little son of a bitch is. The kid knows his way around an acoustic guitar like you couldn’t imagine. Now, he’s no Joey Eppard or Kinsella, think more of a Jesse Lacey, but he’s a damn fine musician. For a first release, All of My Pride is very strong. There are some obvious weaknesses, but they’re more than overshadowed by the overall quality of the album. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to write songs. These songs don’t sound like your typical garage band. They show a surprising depth of musicianship both in the skill of those involved and in the way the different parts interact.

The songs sound remarkably polished and almost unbelievably mature. He utilizes a lot of different production techniques to clean up the tracks but refrains from overuse for the most part. In the spirit of being as fair and impartial as possible, the reverb-guitar does show up quite often, leading me to wonder what some of the songs might have sounded like without the effect. What are you getting when you listen to The Skyscrapers? That’s a good question, I’m glad I asked. What we have here is a solid alternative rock album that has a predisposition to lean into the territory of folk –rock and often dips into some of Armen’s more emo influences. The album opens with The Incision, a pop-punk masterpiece that comes right out of the Brand New playbook. It’s no carbon copy, but fans of the Long Island band will feel comfortable and at home with this track, and will smile at the way Armen takes Jesse’s vocals and uses them as a basis for his own unique half whining half belting style. Kid’s got pipes, that’s for sure. Most of the album plays a little slow, but it’s deliberate. The songs are well crafted with solid intros and build up to something epic, though I would have liked a few more songs like The Incision which starts high and ends high, but I’m impatient sometimes. It’s a quality album that does a lot of great things, and can mobilize a lot of interesting reactions from anyone who listens. If you’re looking for something that is more consistent and has a more focused theme, you may want to wait to check out All of My Pride. The album draws from a lot of different sources and plays with a lot of styles that Armen’s been exposed to over the years growing up in a constantly changing music scene, but he does so in such a way that it doesn’t sound disjointed or unorganized. I anticipate that as he continues to grow, he’ll start to hone in more on what exactly he’s going for. All of My Pride is a great starting point because it puts Armen in a place to take his music in a lot of different directions, none of which look bad from where I’m standing. He’s got potential, hopefully he doesn’t fuck it up.

*Edit* It just came to me that Armen's friend Nick played guitar and contributed vocals to the album and that the good lads at Double D Studios were instrumental at putting together the album and he wants to shout out to all of them.

Well ladies and gents, that’s the first of four extra special reviews featuring local, unsigned bands. It’s nice to be able to do something for friends of mine to help support them. Keep in mind that even though these are friends I’m reviewing, I will still give honest reviews. Details on how to nag yourself a copy of this album are still a little sketchy (because I’m lazy and haven’t asked him about it) but when I know, I’ll be sure to pass along the information. If you’re interested, though, just email me with “All of My Pride” in the subject line and we’ll figure something out. I’m going to be talking a lot about local music scenes and how important they are both to kids in general but also to me when I was growing up during the rest of this month. Enjoy. Join me next week when we shift gears a little bit, and get into some fights.

Here, try some:

Skyscrapers- www.myspace.com/skyscrapersnj
Double D- www.myspace.com/doubledstudiosmusic

Monday, April 27, 2009

Motherfish #15- Folly a Ducks

Album of the Week, sort of

Because of the nature of how I write this blog, updating weekly discussing the music that I want to and only featuring new music once a month, all of the music I’ve talked about so far I liked. It makes sense if you think about it. Why would I waste time talking about bad music? But, then a friend of mine specifically requested I review something I don’t like. And, well, in the very beginning of Motherfish I said I would talk about bad music. Plus, as a reviewer, it’s important to play both sides of the field. But more so than that: being able to form an unbiased opinion is something you need to function in society. I’ve met some pretty stupid people here at college, which seems odd. Well, the reason why stupid people get into college is because they’re book smart but lacking entirely in common sense or reason. They’re stupid because they are so deeply ingrained in their own opinion that they believe it is some sort of divine providence laid upon us mere mortals. They come off as ignorant and basically dumb. This may come as a shock to some, but there are people like that everywhere, and the best you can do is smile, walk away, and hope that some horrible tragedy befalls their cursed existence sooner or later. The point is, objectivity is a useful skill. Keeping an open mind not only allows you to experience new things (and possibly enjoy them) but it makes you a much more pleasant person to be around. I mean, I was walking into Panera Bread to meet somebody for lunch and there was a woman with a little girl behind me, so I held the door. She then turned to me and said “What, you think that just because I’m a woman, I can’t hold a door?” Seriously, what the fuck. And now I proudly present a review of something I don’t like.

Folie A Deux by Fall Out Boy

Everybody knows Fall Out Boy. Even my parents. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being mainstream. I have no problems with any band who can make shit-tons of cash playing their music. I personally tend to stray away from mainstream bands only because the demands placed on them by the major record labels tend to stifle creativity and innovation. Suffice it to say, my problems with FOB lie not in the size of their fan base, but rather in everything they live for. Maybe that’s a little unfair. I don’t know them as people, so rather than say that they ARE a bunch of douche bags, I’m just going to ASSUME I’m right. I’d like to make some remark about how FOB’s latest release, Folie A Deux, should be more aptly titled Generic Radio Pop Rock for Girls with No Tits, but I really can’t because Fall Out Boy has some sort of predisposition to hate the English language and the rules that make it function. Folie A Deux is a little more tame than previous albums, I must say. But I will never remember a song called Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet. Or Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes. Mostly because I’m too embarrassed to admit I know them, but also because they’re long and make no sense. Usually bands don’t go out of their way to make their fans forget the names of their songs. But Fall Out Boy abstains, courteously. They started a new trend, something I like to call the “The More Obscure and Irrelevant I Name My Songs and Albums, the More Hip People Will Think I Am” theory. Surprisingly, it doesn’t work. When I review an album, I’ll put it on while I read or waste my life on the internet, and I’ll keep a notepad next to my computer to jot down random ideas I have.
This is how my note for today began:

Let’s get into the music, which is where the album really sucks. Ok first track, generic FOB sounding song with generic FOB vocal melodies. The drum quality is pretty good, and I actually had moderately high expectations for the first 3:13 of the album. When the “Detox just to eat cocks” breakdown started, I jotted down that note. Then the song ended and I expected another twelve tracks of mediocre pop rock for high school students. I was totally wrong. I Don’t Care, the uniquely named second track on the album sounds like a shitty punk band trying to emulate the shitty dance-rock vibe of the late 80’s. Oddly enough, that’s exactly what it is. Imagine if Dead or Alive, the creative engine behind the 1985 smash hit You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), suddenly decided that they wanted to record a new album, and they wanted it to sound as horrible as possible. That’s what I Don’t Care sounds like. Yeah. Anway, after that song I hoped the worst was over. Apparently Fall Out Boy wants to punish their fans even more. The next song, She’s My Winona, draws influence from a source even more absurd than a terrible 80’s one hit wonder. At 3:23, Fall Out Boy reaches into Walt Disney’s frozen asshole and pulls out a modulation (key change for those not musically inclined) which would feel right at home in Beauty and the Beast or Pocahontas. Well according to Fall Out Boy, Disney was on to something, so in homage they modulate a second time. Because the first time when I thought I was listening to children’s musical theater wasn’t convincing enough. ‘But wait!’ fans of Fall Out Boy call out to me, ‘my favorite part of listening to Fall Out Boy is the way the lyrics really touch me!’, to which I reply ‘show me on the doll where the lyrics touched you?’ and then they cry. Well, let’s take a look at these lyrics, that are apparently so great that they make terrible music worth listening to. “Head like a steel trap, wish I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t, I don’t”. I did not add a single “I didn’t” except for the one I keep repeating in my head in a futile attempt to convince myself I never really listened to this album. Want to see some more? How about this little gem: “Fly your cameras in the air, and wave ‘em like you just don’t care”. Wow, I didn’t see that coming. Really. I figured after Backstreet Boys, Jay-R, Will Smith, and Sugarhill Gang (to name a few) all instructed us in the fine art of reckless hand waving, that the phrase was dead. But no. They couldn’t let it rest in peace. Next thing you know, Fall Out Boy will start singing about how they don’t see nuthin wrong with a little bump n grind. That, my friends, will be a grim day indeed.

And that concludes today’s review. I had fun writing about something I don’t like, so you might be seeing these every so often. Who knows. There are some possible changes coming to Motherfish, plus a few things I’m working on currently to spruce things up around here, so stay tuned for lots of nifty things. Oh, and follow me on Twitter. Join me next week for a review that I’ve been waiting to do since I started this blog.

I’m giving you this song as punishment for your sins:

Thanks to youtube user Caladis074 for posting this, because I really didn't care enough to upload it myself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Motherfish #14- Once, Twice, Thrice a Lady

Album of the Week

Today’s review is up late because contrary to popular belief; I do have a level of responsibility as a student. Work got a little out of hand this last week, but don’t worry! You still get a great review today. Plus more. Science is a big part of my life. I’m very interested in quantum physics and current theories on the subject. I don’t understand most of the math, but that’s ok, it’s the concepts that I enjoy reading about anyway. Regardless, I like to try and keep updated on a lot of current research and science related news stories (read that as “I’m a huge geek with no life and no girlfriend”). Something that’s caught my eye is a proposed theory on a new model for the universe. It’s a donut. What? Ok, well this idea isn’t necessarily new, the article I read was from March 11, 2003. But that doesn’t make it any less interesting. The idea of a finite universe drastically alters the most widespread theory on the creation of the universe, the Big Bang Theory. The BBT is modeled after a spherical, ever expanding infinite space, whereas the evidence supporting the donut model suggests much more of a definite shape. The idea is that if you actually keep heading in a straight line, you’ll end up back where you started, and when we look out into space, we’re seeing what basically amounts to being surrounded by mirrors. What’s most exciting about this, to me at least, is that it lends some credence to String Theory; so far the best candidate science has for a unifying theory of everything. Way to go, Science! Keep making that juice! On to the music:

Yellow & Elephant by Eye Alaska

What we are looking at here today is a band where every member has a giant set of balls. Eye Alaska’s got a unique sound that simultaneously offers throwbacks to 70’s lovemaking jams and modern post-rock. Is that even possible? Obviously if I wrote it than it is. I never lie. Eye Alaska has a little celebrity power working for them, Chase Kensrue is on guitar, piano, and throws down some vocals. Kensrue… That name… Thrice? Yes, Chase is the younger brother of Thrice front man Dustin Kensrue. Don’t expect any of big bro’s throaty vocals or chugging drop B guitars. EA’s sound is much smoother, with all of the tracks featuring airy synths and often some strings or some horns. They create the perfect environment for lead vocalist Brandon Wronski’s almost theatrical tenor voice. The man can sing, that’s fer sure. The album is pretty piano heavy and because of the nature of the instruments used, many of which were electronic, it required a lot of post-production. A lot of people are adverse to what’s often called the ‘over-produced’ sound. You know, the kind of band that you KNOW sounded like garbage when they were recording because you’ve seen them live and they honestly sounded like a trash compactor full of bones made out of a combination of raw macaroni and screaming children. Or, something. Anyway, in the studio they slap some violins and random choirs in the background and BOOM BUST insta-success. That never works, but a lot of studios like to think it does apparently. Anway, Eye Alaska doesn’t sound like that at all, but if you have a propensity to shy away from highly digital music, then EA may not be for you.

Eye Alaska is currently in the studio recording the first full length, so what I’m working with right now is a five song EP chock full of glory. I really love EP’s because I love to be teased. It’s that feeling you get when you’re super hungry and you order Chinese food and while you wait you eat that tiny bit of chicken and broccoli in your fridge. You just want more, and you know it’s on its way. EA takes this to heart and serves up an EP full of songs which really get me excited to hear the band’s full length when it finally hits shelves sometime this year. I mean, the flipside is I could be setting myself up for another traumatic heartbreak when the album is released and it doesn’t meet the ridiculous expectations I blindly set way too high because I’m delusional and live in a fantasy world where every album I buy is exponentially better than the last. Wouldn’t that be great? No, because then I’d be wasting my time here. And your time. Sorry, I got distracted. If you haven’t figured it out, I believe Eye Alaska is headed in good direction with the words “POTENTIALLY AWESOME BAND” made of red balloons and boldly displayed above their tour bus. Even though there is that possibility of failure, I look at Yellow & Elephant as what EP’s should be, an introduction to the band. There isn’t too much variety on the album stylistically; pretty much the only thing they change between songs is the tempo. But Eye Alaska brings a unique style to the table so it doesn’t sound worn out or tired. You don’t mind that the songs are similar because they don’t really sound like anything else out there.

So that concludes today’s late post. The whole sciency thing at the beginning may or may not happen more often. Since I’ve only been posting here for a few months, I’m still playing around with a lot of different elements of the site. Some things turn out great, like the inclusion of the youtube song samples. Others, like me including something interesting about science I read as opposed to a random story at the beginning, may ultimately be the end of me. Who knows.

Speaking of youtube:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Motherfish #13- Blast from the Past

Album of the Week

As far as movies go, I like a wide variety. I like something smart and thought provoking, I like something witty and clever, but every time somebody says “poop” I’ll laugh. Stupid humor is, I think, vastly underrated in the film world. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s looked down upon, snubbed as if some lesser achievement. Too often do I end up discussing movies with an elitist, who loves his foreign and indie art house films. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but you need to be able to take your head out of your ass, otherwise all you’ll be looking at is the same shit that keeps getting rammed down your throat. See what I’m getting at? Well, I came across a movie that even I considered to be a complete and total shit show. The movie in question was a 1977 release called The Brain Machine. Do yourself a favor and never see this movie. I was talking to a friend of mine about it, and the subject of bad movies came up. He started talking about the movie Troll 2, which I’m desperate to watch. Anyway, we watched an interview with Michael Stephenson, the star of Troll 2 who said, in a very sincere way, “Everybody felt like ‘hey, we’re making a movie, let’s do the best we can do.’ And we all just failed at it. Miserably.” This statement reminded me of today’s album. NOT because today’s album is bad; rather because today’s album is what I imagine the opposite of that statement would be.

Radiolarian by The Spines

The theme of today’s review is honesty. This album is the result of good, honest musicians making good, honest music. They’re much more than just good musicians, they’re all great in fact. I love when I can sit down with an album and be able to hear the amount of effort that went into recording it. I listening to probably 5 or 6 different albums before each review, and many of them I like, and I actually put a lot of thought into what I’m going to review when. I try and choose something that has substance to it, so I can talk about something besides how good each song is. When you listen to Radiolarian, you can hear the thought behind each track. In regards to the statement regarding Troll 2, I can imagine the members of this band sitting around a table and just saying “hey, we’re in a band, let’s make the best music we can” and they succeeded. The Spines have a catchy pop/rock feel to them that ‘s immediately attention grabbing. The songs just feel good. Mix in some great hooks, vocal harmonies, and what you get is a sound that’s at once both very accessible but layered with quality musicianship. When I finished my first full listen-through of the album (I’m currently almost done with #17) I said to myself ‘somewhere in the great lexicon of the English language there is one word that can accurately capture the feeling of this album’. And yes, I do actually think to myself like a pretentious tool, but I’m an English major so I can’t help it. That’s not the point. The point is that after a while, I gave up trying to find the word because I got distracted by ebay. Ebay is quite possible the coolest thing ever. You can find anything on there. Literally anything. If you need an original EZ Bake Oven in mint condition or an oldschool enema bag or some farming tools from the 1800’s….. Damn, I’m doing it again. Anyway, I never came up with that word. And that’s a good thing. When you first listen to Radiolarian, you might think that you have a good idea of what the album is going to sound like, and you sit there listening, enjoying every minute. But then, out of nowhere, they do something unexpected but strangely suiting. The album as a whole sets a goal: have as much fun with good, solid music as possible. The Spines accomplish this goal with a varied assortment of song styles and musical techniques.

Let’s talk songs. There are some killer tracks on this album to be sure, but I’d like to give honorable mention to my favorites. Usually when I review an album, I go into the review with an idea of what song(s) I’d like to throw the spotlight on, and more recently one of those becomes the sample I’ll post. With Radiolarian, I had a difficult time picking just a few songs to talk about, and what song I wanted to post changed four or five times from starting to write the review until now. I’m going to start with track one, Difference. The first song on an album can serve one of two purposes; either it’s a non-song intro meant to make you curious and draw you in, or it’s a really awesome song that makes you crave the rest of the album. Difference is the latter of the two, and it does so with gusto. The song is a high energy feel-good tune that promises to deliver an album packed with good times. Whenever the first song on an album is particularly good, I always approach with caution, ever afraid that I’m going to be disappoint (if you thought what you just read was a typo, you fail). The Spines set the bar pretty high with Difference, and the quality of the songs remained consistently well made and fun. The track I have for you all is #7, Big Chorus. I really like this song because it does something so few bands today can do, it combines a genuinely well-written song that’s fun to listen to with creatively well layered instrument tracks that let the individual musicians show off their chops. Make no mistake, The Spines have chops. Imagine this: the cheese sandwich. Get the image in your head. Good. The cheese sandwich is a fairly standard item of food with a lot of potential for variation. The Spines are similar. The Spines are the most delicious gourmet $47 cheese sandwich you could imagine; each and every flavor from the bread to the five different cheeses used to the light sprinkling of pepper and thin layer of mayo compliments the others. The Spines play catchy rock with a good mainstream radio sound, but they do it so well you can’t help but enjoy and appreciate the talent here.

A quick closing remark; I have the pleasure of actually being friends with one of the band members, Max the lead guitarist, and the dude is one sick player. After listening to Radiolarian, I laughed to myself when we were sitting around playing System of a Down songs on our guitars nearly eight years ago. Before that summer, I only fooled around with my guitar. After that, I actually started to take it seriously. It’s really awesome to see somebody I’ve known for a while make a name for himself. He definitely found a band of other talented musicians. Make sure you check these guys out and keep your ears open for them, they have a great sound and I anticipate nothing but good things in their future. Thanks again Max. Best of luck to you all.

As promised, Big Chorus!