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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Austin's Listening to 2/18/12 - 2/24/12

"I still owe you guys a post from last month right? Woops brb ;)
-Austin Lovelace"

1. The Dead Weather - Horehound
"The Dead Weather" is yet another Jack White project BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE; Alyson Mossart, from "The Kills" and two members of the "Raconteurs" are also band members. The catch is that this band only holds some of the characteristics that each of their respective projects are famous for. This project/album focuses on blitzing hard rock. Don't get me wrong they do have influences in Blues Rock, Folk, Indy Rock, Classic Rock and I think they might be the only group I would classify as "Soul Rock" but their point is to push the boundaries of hard rock into "The Forbidden Zone". Most "Metal" and hard rock fans will listen to this and decide their not into it and most "Nu Metal" fans will give this one look and say "fuck it" but I'm sure they'll all love it when it goes mainstream. I'm just glad to hear buzzing guitars sound completely new again especially in Jack White's hands.

2.  T.V. On the Radio - Dear Science
No one on this planet sounds like this band and no one has ever described them the way I hear them. I know a lot of people consider them one of those bands that is creative enough to start moving music into a completely different direction, not unlike "Radiohed", and I know that people see them as an ambient, indy, electro rock project. What I don't understand is how no one sees how drastically they infuse Hip-Hop into their music. I'm starting to think that if no one is flowing over it people refuse to call it "Rap". Yes it's not rap but it's the only thing that I've heard outside of "trip-hop" that I would even hesitate to call "Hip-Hop Rock", as stupid as it sounds. Songs like "Golden Age" and "DLZ" just scream like the synthesizers used in most "Hip-Hop" beats. There is a reason they sound so different and maybe you should check it out again so you know why.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
I know that RHCP is on a really rocky slope when it comes to critical acclaim but despite all of that I've been able to stick with them seance the early 2000s. Their new material has always been kinda iffy for me ever seance "Californication" which I know is blasphemy considering how legendary that album has become but this is actually the first album I've heard for a while that has had a list of tracks that were all enjoyable experimental and different. The first track, Monarchy of Roses, feels very punk inspired before it heads in to a brutal funk tune with a very impressive guitar solo from their new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, about half way through the song. "Brendan's Death Song" is just a rock tune that builds until is explodes into an incredible melody. "Annie Wants a Baby" feels lie it has some island influences. "Police Station" is a funky folk tune and "Even You Brutus" has these yelling rhythmic vocals that actually remind me of Eminem in his hay day. It even has some tracks that just feel like classic "Chili Peppers" like "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" and "Ethiopia". I do feel this album is a little top heavy but I still love it!

4. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I don't need to back up the hype behind Kanye and certainly there's no reason to say why this album is so highly revered by music fans but I can give my opinion on it. There are some moments on this album where it drops off but for almost the whole album all I hear is incredible music so, yes, I do think this album is legendary. The first track starts with, what I assume is, Nicki Minaj reading a story out of a children's book before "a church quire" comes in to support Kanye as he covers every aspect of this album in his verses. By support I mean that it actually sounds like emotional support and by aspects I mean religion, fame, haters, his love life... He even spits one of his funniest lines on the whole album, "you got too many Urkels on your team and that's why you Winslow". The next track, "Gorgeous", covers how his fame has drastically changed his life as he has a conversation with him self over how he rose to fame and how much he should be gloating versus helping the people who brought him up. This track has a looped guitar in the background that sounds like it's coming through an old radio and it adds so much emotion to the song. He spits my favorite line on this track, "So what's a black Beatle anyway? A fuckin roach? Well I guess that's why they got me sittin in fuckin coach". The only real complaint I have with it is that I've never been a fan of Kid Cudi's vocals and his chorus on this track doesn't help. Then "POWER" comes in where he talks about the pressure that's put on him by his fame with this vocal sample and "King Crimson" sample that just gives it an epic feel. He spits "I'll take my inner child and I'm fighting for custody". "All of the Lights" doesn't have anything special about it but the amount of features from "Fergie" to Elton John is defiantly a daring move. "Monster" is the last track that really has this much of a new feeling to it; it has a beat with just percussion but it has all kinds of different sounds that it carry's it self. It just does a lot with very little. After that track, it pretty much drops back into what your used to hearing from Kanye albums like "808s and Heartbreak" - "Collage Drop Out". I don't mind it because, at least lyrically, "Collage Drop Out" is one my favorite Kanye albums. After "Monster" Kanye starts to get really introspective and even when he's singing "lets have a toast for the douche bags, lets have a toast for the ass holes", it still comes across really genuine. I've never heard him spit anything that I groaned at but he wasn't the best lyricist on this album and some of the hooks were a little bland but he is such a brilliant producer that I couldn't care less. I'm still waiting for him to drop a new album.

5. The Black Keys - Attack and Release
Some how I managed to underestimate an album I've already heard. I've been putting this album at the bottom of my list but now that I've heard it again I'm starting to think about it differently. Most people consider this to be the first album that the group really got clean on, but I'm not sure how you can take "Magic Potion" for granted. I know that "The Keys" produced "Potion" but they did it very cleanly. I will say that they lost their unique dynamic with the guitar and drums when they fleshed out the songs on this album with more instrumentation but it's in the ear of the listener to decide weather it's bad or not. I'm a little indifferent on the issue. I still can't get into the folky ballads on this thing, which is a problem I have with the first track, but when a track starts with a banjo or has a bass in the background I don't feel like they take anything away but they don't really add to it either. The only time the extra instrumentation really matters is when "Danger Mouse" pulls in the rains and forces the track to progress. Even though I still like them tracks like "I Got Mine" and "Strange Times", which have huge production on them, feel flat until the new instrumentation comes in. Other tracks like "Remember When" pt.2, that hardly have any production on  them, survive purely on the guitar and everything else in the track just sits there. The track "Psychotic Girl" seem to find a perfect combination of both but it might be the only one on this album that's not wrestling with all of the new ideas. This album makes me relies why I liked El Camino even more which is because they have extra instrumentation and Danger Mouse production on every track which seams to be a magic combination, when done right, even though both of these albums are in the bottom 3.

<<El Camino 
<< Rubber Factory

6. Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising
Something happened this week when I listened to this album. I've always loved this band but now that I'm getting back into listening to all of their albums I would consider them my all time favorite band. It's not a big deal but that basically means I default to this band when I don't know what to listen to. This might actually be my favorite album from them. The first track starts with just a brutal riff that comes from their punk heritage but you get that melody that makes this band famous for being known as a "Noise Pop" band. If that first track doesn't get  you into this album you probably won't ever get into it but I still encourage you to get to track 2 were their screaming "New Day Rising" turns into lyrics that just don't make seance until the chorus drops in and Grant Hart goes off into something like a death growl. All of the tracks are pretty much just extremely melodic, buzzing, punk tunes that just get slower and slower until they hit the Track "Terms of Psychic Warfare"  which actually starts with a bass line that reminds me of "Flea" from RHCP, before the famous Bob Mould distortion creeps over the guitar that traces the bass melody. The next track "59 times the plan" is close to a ballad but even at their slowest this band is extremely fast. The album starts to return to where it started right after that track when it starts to just get faster and faster, with a short break on the track "How to Skin a Cat" which is a dark disturbing tale told in the funniest way that you'd just need to hear to understand. The tracks just build and get faster until the last track, "Plans I Make",  that is just all three of them shredding to a hardly noticeable melody. Besides that short ballad after "Terms" there is nothing I would change about this album. It's perfect.

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