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Saturday, October 6, 2012

El Toro De La Muerte - Dancer These Days EP Review

"I just did another review for The Brainless Horde and I liked the album a lot... I'll let ya'll know when it's up!

-Austin Lovelace"
 My first introduction to this band was four guys playing a last minuet show to fill time between two sets at the Colorado Springs Indy Music Awards (that's my guess given that the we'rent on the original schedule). For some reason they had decided to start playing an acoustic set so in my head I was watching a great folk rock band. As the cashier at The Leechepit informed me, I had not really seen this band live. IMPORTERS, I didn't see any of them scream once. It's always cool to see a band in a form that isn't what you expect, but if anyone else was there to see the same show you missed a 90s rock band, you should go and see them again and so should I.

These guys are some freak of nature built by Modest Mouse, Weezer, and The Shins like some kind of gene splicing mad man experiment. They're lost in an age that is now 12 years old. These guys clearly where their influences on their sleeves; each song is going to remind you of someone else but they do it so proudly that you've gotta love it. This is their first release and they already know their game, and they really don't care if you don't.

"BACK IN MY DAY, I COULD MOVE MY FEET WITH THE REST OF THEM", there really couldn't be a much clearer Pavement influence than on the track "Dancer", which despite the vocals screaming in your face, makes you want to get up and move. But you do it without punching someone, okay maybe, but you should, okay maybe, it depend on who, but you probably shouldn't, okay maybe.... It's hard to move through an EP when you have the first track on repeat. "Things In My Head" has one of the catchiest intros and the words are practicably coming out of Issac Brock's (of Modest Mouse) mouth, but it doesn't have the same energy until it's end, #punkfanproblems. The next three tracks bring the energy back full force and if the vocal melody of "The Chartering Rats", very Shinsy, doesn't get stuck in you're head you're just not human, nope get your gears checked you can't be human. "Animals" sounds a lot like an early Weezer track, especially when the exit riff starts playing at about 2:20min in. The last track of the album, probably my favorite, goes for a much softer approach. If Edge (of U2) conceived a kid during a conga line, you would get the chorus Riff on "Like a Ghost".

I have a feeling that everyone will be able to take these guys and put what ever label they want on them, and everyone should and will. However, what ever label you put on them wont affect that these guys are taking everything an making it their own. They give soft instrumentals a mosh worthy energy by screaming their faces off into your own. It should be clear by their name that Spanish music somehow or another makes its way into every song, and it's clear when they do. This album takes an extremely aggressive sound and makes you want to dance to it. On top of everything else they have a seance of being optimistic even when they are negative without beating you in the head with it.  If my first experience with this band live wasn't what it was, I picture the crowd split into two halves; one in a giant mosh pit and the other dancing through the whole show, me the former.

Being a part of The Brainless Horde has been my schooling on the city I live in. Discovering that Colorado Springs is cultural on a most basic level, which is contrary to my opinion of plain vanilla. It's bands just like this that I look out for SO KEEP IT UP "The Bull is Dead".

The Note Pad:
Other Bands You Might Like: Modest Mouse, Weezer, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., Sugar, No Age, New Order, Joy Division, Mumrah, Radiohead, Green Day, The Replacements, Husker Du

Fav. Tracks: Dancer, The Chattering of Rats, Like a Ghost

Thursday, October 4, 2012


"I'm working here!

-Austin Lovelace"

MUSE is a band that I've been trying to putt my finger on for a while. Coming out with the very ambitious space rock, Radiohead inspired, "Showbiz" they got my interests engaged. I understand how people mark them off as a copy but I saw no reason to place that name on them, yet. Fallowing that with my favorite MUSE album, "Origin of Symmetry", they made them selves out to be a band that had found their sound, one they could call their own. I loved the aggressiveness and in my opinion, it had some of the most creative bass lines of the early 00s, especially the single "New Born". Sadly they fell hard on their next album; "Absolution" was the Radiohead copy everyone always uses against them, and I can't say I disagree. I heard a very clear "Ok Comp./Bends." influence on "O.O.S." but they took it to such a level that any of their songs could be confused with Radiohead's by a casual listener. I hated that album so much that their next just skipped by me and I didn't hear it until "Uprising" dropped from "The Resistance". I listened to "The Resistance", only because I loved the single, but I found MUSE once again copying, just another band. I'm really not a Queen fan and so the only reaction I could have, to an album ripping so much from their corner, was to rush back to their last album hoping for something better. "Black Holes and Revelations" was an album I can defiantly say sounded only like MUSE, not the same as the album that sounded like MUSE before, but still strictly MUSE

So, we're clearly dealing with a band that has a very rocky past, with my career as a fan. One album I like, two I love, and two I hate; I hoped that this album would break that tie. I don't think MUSE did much to advance them selves from their last album. Almost every track here sound like it would have fit fine with anything on "The Resistance". "Survival" even has these background vocals that sound completely torn from Freddy Mercury's play book, along with "Supremacy" and "Explorers". "Panic Station" has a guitar riff that sounds way to close to the bass intro from "Another One Bites the Dust", to even call it a MUSE track. They even pull from a side of the 80s a lot of fans are guaranteed to hate. The only real difference between "Big Freeze" and U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is Matt's vocal. 

I know that taking other peoples songs, and sound, is a long standing tradition in music, Just Look at Balkans  and The Strokes. I'm just not hearing MUSE take these influences, or even when they take  rhythms and sounds directly, in a way that is moving them in a unique direction. MUSE is a case of a band who wares their influences on their sleeves, and they've done it very well in the past, but the only thing they're adding to all these, over used 80s sounds, are the dub step wubs that are just carelessly layered over their instrumentals.

There are tracks that brake this mold but they don't even come close to saving the album for me. "Madness" is an electronic love song that gets more and more ambitious as it runs from very dub sounds, not dubstep just dub, to a full collage of instrumentation that easily meets the volume of their older material. "The 2nd Law Unsustainable", is pretty much just a dubstep song though the aimless drop is pretty underwhelming, especially when it sounds just like all the other dubstep productions flooding the market. "Animals" is a really smooth jam that sounds nothing like anything I've heard from MUSE, or any other band for that matter, and the outro is a refreshing  instrumental, Matt's vocals are more a part of the background that foreground, that reminds me that this Album isn't all bad. Sadly the only song that I liked enough to give them the credit, that I wish I could, was "Animals".

I don't want to sound like a snob, saying "MUSE should go back to their old sound", in fact I encourage progression but if this is the direction that they're heading I have no interest in going with them. I'm also sure that a lot of readers will have a different definition of copying, and will also have a different idea of where the line should and should not be crossed. I can't recommend this album to any MUSE fans who fell of the bandwagon on "The Resistance" but if you liked that album I can't see you disliking this, but for me they've crossed a line I'd rather not cross my self, two too many times.

The Note Pad:
Other Anthem Rockers: The Killers, U2, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, The Foo Fighters, Radiohead. Journey, Styx, Kansas, R.E.O. Speed Wagon, Aerosmith

Other Bands You Might Like: Almost anything from the 80s

-Austin Lovelace