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Sunday, February 5, 2012

What Austin's Listening to this week 1/29/2012 - 2/4/2012

"Okay So I'm gonna start this bitch of a weekly concept. 6 albums this time! 

-Austin Lovelace"

1.The Black Keys - El Camino 
So pt.2 of my mission to find out WTF the keys are up to recently. This one should be easier though because even though I'm hearing a lot of people saying "Brothers Pt.2" I liked this album. I do share a lot of the complaints other people do with this thing, verse chorus verse... structure, more pop than blues, high vocals in the background, and of cores the fan complaint (clean production from danger mouse). None of this is enough to stop me from liking this though because they really know how to craft these songs using these things. Even though the high vocals pissed me off on brothers having them in the background, here, is actually a pretty cool sound. Lets face it though ever seance "Magic Potion" we haven't heard the distortion that we've loved from their previous efforts and double that factor with the introduction of "Danger Mouse" on "Attack and Release"; even on "Brothers" were they produced the whole album, except "Tighten Up", it didn't sound like their old albums like "Thickfreakness". So now the question becomes "Were is the personality on this album?". I'll be blunt there isn't much of one but along with the great song writing they still have some of the most recognizable solos you will ever hear (and this album has a lot of them). The solo in "Run Right Back" sounds like something that you would hear from a "White Stripes" hit like "Seven Nation Army" and in the song "Money Maker" they're paying tribute to blues rock legends "Cream" with a distorted psychedelic riff that would make anyone trip. Solos aside none of these tracks stand out on their own except for "Little Black Submarines" were they are paying tribute "Led Zeppelin" for the first half of the song before they jump into a brutal "White Stripes" riff you would get from their early songs like "Jimmy The Exploder"; I do have a big complaint here, even though "Danger Mouse" really lets the distortion take over on this track, Dan Auerbach's voice doesn't go crazy the way the track does, even though I know he can because of tracks like "Have Love Will Travel" (and it bums me out a little). Just to comment on the lyrics, you wont hear anything new here it's all drugs, girls, money, and Sunday blues. Seriously, just ignore this review because it's a good album.

"The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines" 

<<Brothers Review 
Rubber Factory Review>> 
Attack and Release>>

2.Wick-it the Instigator - Big Boi V.S. The Black Keys (Mashup) The Brothers of Chico Dusty EP (FREE!)
Albums like this are hard to talk about; I'm not allowed to talk about the music because he didn't make it. I am , however allowed to talk about the mix and production because it's fantastic. There may be a synth or a disk scratch every once in awhile but for the most part this sounds like Big Boi rapping over black keys instrumentation like this project was planned. If you listen to Big Boi's album, "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty", you can tell that some verses were slowed down, taken out, and/or spaced out to fit the instrumentation of "The Black Keys - Brothers". There are times when even Big Boi's beats and verses mix with the instrumentation and verses from the keys making for a consistent mashup that sounds real. Whenever I don't like something on this mixtape it's because of the people who made the music, not the mixing. This EP should serve as a reminder to people who either hate hip-hop or rock that they're not that different.

3.Bad Meets Evil (Eminem) (Royce Da 5'9") - Hell the Sequel EP
This album is going to get a bad rap before anyone even hears it just because Eminem is part of it. I'm not saying Eminem is bad because he put out two of the best main stream rap albums ever made, "The Marshal Mathers LP" and "The Eminem Show". The sell out factor comes out when "Relapse" came out and "Recovery" mad it worse even though there were a few good tracks on "Relapse". So people are going to say Royce sold out by working with him but what a lot of people don't know is that this duo existed and put out an EP, "Nuttin' To Do" b/w "Scary Movies", when "The Slim Shady LP" came out and before D-12 even formed, when Royce was called "Royce The 5'9"". So now that "Recovery" has come out, their beef is over, and Bad Meets Evil is back together; what does this EP sound like? The answer is pretty simple, it sounds like Bad Meets Evil if Em's high pitched "Shady Flow" was never put on tape. To me the best thing about this EP is that Eminem shows the amount of flows he is capable of showing off and how well he keeps up with Royce like most MCs couldn't do. Technically their flows are some of the cleanest and fastest in modern mainstream hip-hop. Lyrically this album is just as great as Eminem used to be and Royce has always been. One of my favorite lines from this EP is, as corny as it is, "So I'm thinkin about this nice nice lady, wait don't stop me now before I get on a role; danish, let me tell you what this pretty little dames name is cuz she's kinda famous and I hope that I don't sound to heinous when I say this Nicki Minaj but I want to stick my penis in you anus", -Eminem, and "I take painkillers to ease the pain, though I ain't in pain No, we, ain’t the same", - Royce Da 5'9". This EP brings competition to a new level; Em and Royce were rewriting lyrics and respiting through the mic. until they they were satisfied with it (I doubt they ever were). This whole album is pretty much a battle track and it's your choice to choose the winner. I do have some issues with some week hooks on most of the A-B-A-B formula tracks and I have a love hate relationship with Liz Rodriguez's voice when it pops up on tracks like "Above The Law" but I do love the chorus she puts up on "Echo", one of the 4 leaked/bonus tracks. I shouldn't even have to mention all the people who get dissed on this thing from Kanye West to Lady Gaga. After all of this people are going to say there is no depth in this album but if you listen to the sound of tracks like "The Reunion", "A Kiss" and "I'm On everything" you can get the idea there informing their fans about their were their music is going. In the track "I'm On Everything" it almost sounds like they're making fun of their older work with Royce referring to old T.V. shows, "Ha Alf", and his bad boy persona while Em is talking about his old accent and even an old Bad Meets Evil track, "Scary Movies"; the chorus of this track is sampled from Mike Epps were he's talking about every drug on the books before Royce lets out a quick chuckle fallowed buy him saying "Classic" and them both going off and finishing off with two of the best flows on this album. So in short they're saying they're grown up but not close to being done. The beats on this thing go from pretty good to okay and I could have done without that bullshit radio single "Lighters" (even though Royce and the beat are still pretty good on that track). I do think Royce won because on tracks like "Fast Lane" Em has to use some tactics like stuttering and some pauses to keep up with Royce, like I said it's your choice. Don't let their reputation's keep you from  listening to this because if your a "Shady" or a "Royce" fan you'll like this.

"Bad Meets Evil - I'm On Everything" 

4. Ratatat - Classics
I couldn't let go of the New Order vibe... I couldn't go without listening to some more well produced electro rock. It's not like this album actually sounds like New Order, so you "new-wave" fans can chill out about my reference but don't take that to mean that this album is below the beloved classic standers. Better yet saying it's below it's own name is understating it's potential. I would say that most people would call this their best album and even though I agree I think their first album, self titled, gives it a run for it's money. I can't help talk about their other albums because they all have such a similar sound so describing this album is also describing all their others. You will hear some heavy electronic bass lines coming from a massively distorted bass guitar giving out a "light dub-step" kind of background noise   for the rest of the music to build on. While the bass lines provide a melody their tiny guitars, flimsy filters make for a very easy listen. The down side to any album by this project is easily distracted making it easy for you to take this albums as music to listen to while running or doing the laundry. If you want to have fun with your every day life or give your self a soundtrack this is your ticket to making your life a movie.

"Ratatat - Loud Pipes" 

5. Gorillaz - Demon Days
I think it's fair to say that Gorillaz have become a classic project to almost any fan of music. They have a style that has a cohesive feel to it but they have reached their hands into so many styles from folk to hip-hop that they can appeal to anyone. As for this record they put heavy emphasis on heavy bass based folk rock with hip-hop influenced production and vocals. This album feels like one of their darkest albums because of it's low melodic delivery that sounds like it's the soundtrack of a Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock movie. The lyrics delve into topics about being lonely, defending a broken city, weapons all over the streets, and the universally hated subject, traffic. The positive side of this album is that it pulls out of the depression near the end of the album in favor of a more optimistic look on fixing what is broken rather than exposing it. This album is held up as one of the best Gorillaz albums to most, but to me this is my third best. Don't get me wrong, this is not a Black Keys situation, I love this album but this album has a few down sides I can get passed. I feel like this album is too cohesive; all the other Gorillaz albums are very tight in their sound but they jump from sound to sound to keep the listener interested. I think this album chose one style, done very well, and stuck with it because it wanted to avoid the experimental boundaries their first album , self-titled, reached with tracks like "19-2000" where they used electronics in ways I've never heard before. Besides all of my complaints this album has some of the catchiest tracks this project has ever put out, "Last Living Souls", "Kids With Guns", "Feel Good Inc.", "DARE", and "Demon Days", and it lives up to it's name.

P.S. Don't blame me because I think "Feel Good Inc." is the best track on this album.

"Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc. ft. De La Soul"

6. Mogwai - Young Team
I actually listened to the first half of this album during the beginning of the week and finished it on Friday because this album is a lot to take in. This album is extremely long and dark but even without that I don't think I can wright about this album and give it the justice it deserves. The idea of writing about this album was part of what made it hard to finish. This album is Mogwai's first and biggest with no dispute about how enormous it sounds. Most people would even say it's their best but my first introduction to them was their most recent album "Hard Core Will Never Die, but You Will", which made it on to my best albums of 2011 list. I actually think "Hard Core..." is my favorite album by them but it is not anywhere near as dense and emotionally exhausting as this album is. I will take a break from explaining how hard this album is to get into and talk about what it sounds like. This band takes the sounds of metal and rock and interchanges them back and forth in a really drawn out format. The songs on this album  reach 7 to 15 min. long and have some of the darkest attitudes mixed with beautiful melodies that if you allow your self to get caught up in, you will feel every emotion they want you to. This album will take you through a trip that you would only get from psychedelics and an encounter with a shrink. Acasonaly lyrics will come in but they have almost nothing to do with the song other than to sway you into more depression. I think if you give this album a chance you can get everything you want from it but you need the time and you need to be relaxed enough to understand what you're doing.

P.S. Do not let this song be the album for you because you need to experience the whole album to understand it.

"Mogwai - Mogwai Fear Satan"

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