Monthly Archives: March 2014

Total Strife Forever – East India Youth

The debut album by William Doyle, working under the moniker of East India Youth offers an electric blend of electronic tracks that covers a fair amount of ground. ‘Total Strife Forever’ features a wonderful blend of electronic music, ranging from synth-pop to ambient. There’s a number of interesting elements to ‘Total Strife Forever’, which demonstrates some great maturity from a fairly young and upcoming artist. East India Youth certainly demonstrates a fair amount of talent on his debut record, showcasing everything he has to offer when it comes to his own brand of electronic music. It’s is arguable though that as an album package, ‘Total Strife Forever’ does miss a few of the marks.

Much of ‘Total Strife Forever’ seems to have been born from the rising surge of British electronic music. What’s interesting though is how East India Youth manages to separate himself from the bog of dull electronic music by offering his own slants and styles on things. There’s a fair amount of impressive and enjoyable ideas being presented on ‘Total Strife Forever’, which comes across as a rather promising album for East India Youth. There’s an enjoyable amount of creativity and diversity of sound being presented by Doyle, who offers us a little bit more than what some of us might be used to. There’s a number of rather memorable tracks as well, which certainly elevates East India Youth’s position.

What doesn’t work though is the presentation of the album itself. Each track on the album more or less works well in terms of how well the album flows into each other, but as the album goes on and on, it seems to demonstrate some dull qualities. A number of the tracks seem to just drag on, giving the album itself somewhat of an annoying quality. Whilst East India Youth demonstrates some good strong ideas on his debut album, he also demonstrates a number of flaws that severely impact the album itself. ‘Total Strife Forever’ certainly has a good number of good songs, but so much of the album is made up of elements that don’t add anything at all, making the album so much longer than it needs to be.

Although there’s some great songs on ‘Total Strife Forever’, there is sadly not enough to push the album forward of all the flaws it possesses. East India Youth certainly demonstrates a more interesting sound than most others within the same genre, but a number of errors has impacted the album quite a lot. Perhaps some will find enjoyment in the electronic elements pulsating over and over, but when the elements themselves don’t seem to contribute anything to the overall album effort, then it seems pointless. Perhaps East India Youth will learn from his mistakes on ‘Total Strife Forever’, as there are certainly some promising moments.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Total Strife Forever I
  • Dripping Down
  • Looking For Someone
  • Midnight Koto

East India Youth’s debut album ‘Total Strife Forever’ is out now.

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Stagioni Sintetiche EP – Stagioni Sintetiche

The new self-titled album by musicians  Emanuele Venezia and Angelo Russo, both working under the title of Stagioni Sintetiche ‘ features a somewhat enjoyable mix of EDM music that certainly has a driving element to it for the most part. With driving electronic beats, accompanied by synth-pop elements, there’s certainly something on offer there that will appease to certain people. Whilst the new EP showcases Stagioni Sintetiche’s own style of EDM music, there is something rather repetitive and uninspired about what is really on offer on the EP.

There’s some enjoyable elements on ‘Stagioni Sintetiche’, which demonstrates at the very least a good understanding of the EDM genre. The EP itself though offers just a little bit more than just the bog-standard, with some other more creative ideas being thrown into the mix to bring more out of the music itself. Sometimes it works, but it feels like ‘Stagioni Sintetiche’ is just another uninspired record that doesn’t really do anything to really bring anything out of the music. As the EP draws to a close, it becomes apparent that it has done little to nothing to make an impact, giving the EP itself a rather pointless attribute. The EP itself even tries to bring some new ideas to the mix, but a number of them just seem to fall flat, adding nothing to the album experience at all.

Stagioni Sintetiche have certainly done their best on their new EP, but it seems most of their efforts have been for nothing, as ‘Stagioni Sintetiche’ is an EP that makes absolutely no impact. To some extent, things might be somewhat enjoyable, but there’s nothing present on the EP that will have any lasting memory. Stagioni Sintetiche may know what to do when it comes to the EDM genre, but it seems they don’t really have what it takes to truly make the genre work for themselves. ‘Stagioni Sintetiche’ comes across as a clumsy and dull EP experience that isn’t really worth bothering with.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆  2/5

Selected Songs:

  • Autunno

Stagioni Sintetiche’s EP ‘Stagioni Sintetiche’ is out now.

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Do To The Beast – The Afghan Whigs

After the release of the brilliant 1998 album ‘1965’, The Afghan Whigs sort of fell off the radar, only to return 16 years later with their brand new full-length album ‘Do To The Beast’. The bands latest album effort places Greg Dulli right back into the forefront of his band, delivering brilliant alternative rock tunes with effortless ease. It seems most of the band have come back together to create just another effort from the band, delivering out a familiar sound that is certainly full of rock aesthetics. ‘Do To The Beast’ is in some ways a welcome return for The Afghan Whigs, though the more hardcore fans of the band might find the new album rather disappointing on many levels.

16 years of various other projects hasn’t impacted greatly upon The Afghan Whigs sound, who musically offer up a familiar and recognizable sound that is undeniably The Afghan Whigs. Most of the album is certainly pumped up, with Greg Dulli belting out the vocals as strongly and powerfully as his slightly aged voice can allow him to. There’s a great number of enjoyable tracks present on ‘Do To The Beast’, and perhaps more-so than some of the bands’ previous albums. In some ways it’s an impressive effort for The Afghan Whigs, who have managed to (in some ways) capture the sound that made their music so strong all those years ago. It’s also enjoyable to see bands pushing out the brilliant rock style that isn’t as prevalent in today’s music.

Although ‘Do To The Beast’ is a strong album in many ways, there is this daunting feeling though that the album isn’t as good as it should be. The album itself is an enjoyable one, but it feels like it should be making a much greater impact when the album draws to a close, and instead it just seems to… end, with nothing really being felt. It’s certainly Afghan Whigs in many ways, and music that we can’t expect any less from, but it feels like we were expecting more from the band, who instead just didn’t deliver. If ‘Do To The Beast’ was released a year or two after ‘1965’, perhaps it would work much better than it does. After 16 years though, it does feel a little… disappointing.

‘Do To The Beast’ is an enjoyable album, full of the kind of enjoyable music one would expect from The Afghan Whigs. In some ways it is a shame that the album doesn’t quite have the kind of impact that one might expect (if you were expecting one at all) but at the same time, it is at least nice to hear some new material from a band who have pushed out some great material in their career. As an album, there is a fair amount to enjoy from ‘Do To The Beast’, which features a good mixture of great songs, but at the same time, it does feel a little disappointing, considering the anticipation one might have had for what should have been The Afghan Whigs brilliant return to music.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Parked Outside
  • It Kills
  • The Lottery
  • Can Rova

The Afghan Whigs 7th studio album ‘Do To The Beast’ is set to release on ’14th April 2014′

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Relations in the Unseen – The Intersphere

 First posted on echoesanddust.com

German rock band The Intersphere are certainly preparing themselves to pack a punch with their latest album effort ‘Relations in the Unseen’. Across 12 tracks we’re presented with a rather fun and very energetic performances that are certain to please their own fans, and perhaps garner them more from fans of the more alternative-punk-rock genre. The Intersphere certainly seem to have a number of enjoyable qualities in their music, though we do ask ourselves whether or not The Intersphere are really adding anything to music, or whether they’re just treading the same ground that many bands have gone before them.

There are a number of enjoyable qualities on ‘Relations in the Unseen’ which certainly does set itself out to entertain. Each track on the album contributes towards a very adrenaline-fuelled punk-rock experience, somewhat similar to Fall Out Boy or Panic! At the Disco’s more earlier work. For the most part it all works very well, with the whole album more or less expressing what The Intersphere wants it to express.

It’s hard though to ignore the incredible average and repetitive quality that ‘Relations in the Unseen’ possesses. Musically the album sounds the same as so many other bands that have preceded The Intersphere, with there being little to nothing that showcases the band more strongly than the others. Perhaps the music is enjoyable to some degree, but it feels like The Intersphere haven’t injected enough of their own personality to really make the music their own. Everything is left sounding distinctly average and to some extent… rather boring and contrived. There’s little true creativity here to make it a record worthy of any recognition.

The Intersphere do suggest some good ideas from time to time. Although the whole record sounds rather uninteresting and uninspired, it does seem to feature one or two little moments that suggest The Intersphere are better than what they’re pushing out. It seems though that the band have opted to push out the more easy and uncreative elements of their music, rather than utilize their stronger moments to create music that is ultimately their own. Perhaps there’s something here to appease to certain people, perhaps… but the whole album is very thin on the ground to really work on its own merits.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆  2/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Ones We Never Knew
  • Out Of Phase
  • Origin Unknown

The Intersphere’s latest album ‘Relations in the Unseen’ is out now.

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Inventions – Inventions

Explosions in the Sky guitarist Mark Smith combines his own creative ideas with equally creative Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, resulting in the duo’s latest album effort Inventions. The new band has pushed out their debut self-titled record, showcasing the collaborative style from two of Temporary Residence’s best artists in their current roster. Both Cooper and Smith throw their own musical ideas into the pool, resulting in the new sound that is Inventions. The bands’ debut album is a phenomenal effort that combines the brilliant ambient styles of Cooper with the post-rock elements of Smith, whilst also offering some brilliant new ideas that are captivating, haunting and beautiful.

Fans of both Eluvium and Explosions in the Sky will find tremendous amounts to enjoy here, though there’s a lot of surprises that will certainly keep you on your toes. As an album, ‘Inventions’ doesn’t actually sound characteristically like anything the duo have released before, which is great! We’re presenting with a new force that draws upon what both Cooper and Smith already know, and offers up some new discoveries and new ideas that the band have come across in their collaboration. It is a perfect collaborative effort, where both Cooper and Smith compliment each others own ideas and styles, both letting each other speak their own messages, both supporting each other. Musically the album is rich and delightful, offering up a lovely blend of tracks, some of which are just phenomenally beautiful.

It seems Cooper and Smith have produced a great effort with ‘Inventions’, which as an album has very little that is truly wrong with it. It is arguable that certain tracks (one in particular) don’t seem to contribute as much to the album as others do. Halfway through the album, there’s a sudden jarring effect with how the music is presented and sounds, giving the album a little bit of a clumsy element. As a track, it is still enjoyable in its own right, but on the album itself it seems like it is perhaps missing something that could help make it truly work and contribute towards the overall album itself.

Even so, Inventions comes across as a phenomenal project by both Cooper and Smith. The new bands’ debut album is a wonderful and expressive musical journey that tugs at a great selection of emotions. So much of this album has been done right, which expresses what is best of both Cooper and Smith. It’s wonderful that both musicians have managed to find some new ideas in their collaborative efforts, and on top of that, make these new ideas work well in the presentation of their first album. ‘Inventions’ is a gorgeous album effort that one can only hope is the beginning of something permanent. We can only cross our fingers and hope that ‘Inventions’ isn’t going to be a one-off project.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Flood Poems
  • Entity
  • Luminous Insects
  • Peaceable Child

Inventions debut album ‘Inventions’ is set for release on 1st April 2014.

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Education, Education, Education & War – Kaiser Chiefs

kaiser-chiefs-education-art

Kaiser Chiefs have returned to the British indie-rock market with their fifth studio album effort titled ‘Education, Education, Education & War’. The new album features much of the same somewhat pumped up, rather formulaic indie-rock anthems that Kaiser Chiefs have produced over and over. There’s of course the very British element running throughout the album, giving it a little bit of charm in the swamp of indie-rock albums. In fairness to Kaiser Chiefs, there seems to have been a little bit more effort pushed into ‘Education, Education, Education & War’, which comes across as perhaps a much more stronger album effort than the bands’ previous efforts.

‘Education, Education, Education & War’ is in many ways a typical Kaiser Chiefs effort. Everything is rather fast-paced and urgent, and perhaps a little bit cheeky and playful at times. Kaiser Chiefs push out more of their amusing style on their new record, which seems to work fairly well for the band. There’s something just simply enjoyable about most of the music present on the bands’ latest album effort, which might not be as anthemic or memorable as some of the bands’ first singles, but it is all still enjoyable in their own way. At times, Kaiser Chiefs demonstrate a few little ideas and elements that actually draw a lot more out of their music than what one might expect. It’s interesting, at times.

The main problem with ‘Education, Education, Education & War’ is that it just doesn’t really offer anything new or interesting. It’s an album that has fallen into the same hole as so many indie-rock bands, in that its done nothing to really push anything, and thus ends up sounding repetitive, stagnant and boring. There’s a few enjoyable tracks on the album, but the whole album effort itself is just too dull for the most part for it to be really worthy of anything. Some creative ideas are present on the album that make the tracks themselves interesting, but there’s not enough to make every track interesting, and the whole album itself enjoyable. In the end, ‘Education x3 & War’ comes across as another let-down in the British indie-rock genre.

Perhaps Kaiser Chiefs aren’t really capable of much more in their music repertoire, as their previous albums have suggested. The band may have tried to produce something that is interesting, but until they start really pushing themselves to create, they’re not going to get anywhere anytime soon. In some ways it’s a shame really, as there’s a suggestion that Kaiser Chiefs are trying hard to really create new music for themselves. Their most recent efforts though are evidently wasted, as ‘Education, Education, Education & War’ is simply just another forgettable album.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆  2/5

Selected Songs:

  • Coming Home
  • Ruffians on Parade
  • Meanwhile, Up In Heaven

Kaiser Chiefs’ fifth studio album ‘Education, Education, Education & War’ is set for release on 31st March 2014.

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Born In Sin – Electric Blue

Israeli-Blues-Rock band Electric Blue offer up their debut-album experience titled ‘Born In Sin’. The new album showcases the bands’ phenomenal and pumped up blues rock style, offering what comes across as a highly enjoyable and easily accessible album experience. Electric Blue seem to have turned up everything for their debut album effort, in an attempt to show off everything they are capable of when it comes to their own branch of music within the blues rock genre. Whilst the music on the album itself derives from the rather formulaic format of blues music, everything still comes across as enjoyable and fun, giving the album a little bit of an edge.

Electric Blue certainly sound like they know what they’re doing when it comes to their music, with ‘Born In Sin’ coming across as a very enjoyable album effort. Many traditional blues influences can be seen here and there, but Electric Blue seem to have injected a fair amount of their own personality into the mix, giving the music itself its own charm. There’s a lot to be enjoyed here, especially in the performance by the band, who never seem to let up at any given moment, and instead just inject very single ounce of energy they have available. It’s pure and simple blues rock at the end of the day, that has managed to do a lot right.

What is a shame though is how Electric Blue don’t seem to really branch themselves out much in terms of the sound they’re offering on ‘Born In Sin’. After a while is spent listening to the album, it becomes somewhat apparent that there isn’t really going to be much of a change in the dynamics or sound on the album. Everything is loud and crunchy and whilst it is good in its own right, it is a little bit disappointing when it is the only thing being offered on the album itself. It’d be nice if ‘Born In Sin’ offered some different dynamics whilst still retaining its blues roots. It’s possible, but sadly not present on Electric Blues’ debut album.

Whilst Electric Blue might have missed a few of the marks when it comes to offering their debut album experience, what they have done right has been done so well that is does present ‘Born In Sin’ as a highly enjoyable album experience. Electric Blue have set out with the intention of delivering a full-on blues rock experience, which they have managed to achieve in fine style. ‘Born In Sin’ might not have every single element available that would make it a phenomenal album experience, but it does feature enough to showcase Electric Blue as a very strong and capable blues-rock band.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Born In Sin
  • Coffee Shop
  • Bruised & Broken
  • Color Blue

Electric Blues’ debut album ‘Born In Sin’ is out now.

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Compassion Fatigue (1-8) – Ashley Reaks

Experimental artist Ashley Reaks truly delves into the experimental music genre with his latest release of ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’. Backed up by a number of musicians, Reaks presents a very intriguing and somehow incredibly enjoyable experimental album experience. Comprised of 8 tracks, Reaks created the rule where track.1 had to be one minute long and in the key of A, and track.2 had to be two minutes long and in the key of B and so on and so forth. The result is a very peculiar album experience that is full of sudden twists and turns and unexpected elements that come out of nowhere, yet all sounding incredibly cohesive and (somehow) natural.

The rule set down for the album is obviously the main driving force of the album, and the main appealing element that draws people in. Across 36 minutes of music exactly, we’re presented with a barrage of experimental ideas and elements that aren’t restricted by the rules set down for the album. Musically, the album sounds like some sort of alternative-rock experience, somewhat similar to Neutral Milk Hotel yet somehow ten times more experimental. The album itself flows brilliantly though, with the rule of the album creating a brilliant experience that is easily enjoyable. It’s an interesting project, that is utterly mad and bizarre (and it certainly sounds so) yet it is still somehow accessible.

With experimental music there is always the risk of alienating listeners and creating experiences that are ultimately un-listenable. Whilst there’s certainly inaccessible elements to ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’, the whole album is still a cohesive and structured experience that is still accessible. The experimental elements of the album have worked perfectly, with the only true negative trait perhaps being the coarse language which is impossible to ignore. Still the whole album flows so naturally and brilliantly that it’s hard to see  it as anything other than strong. It might not be a true masterpiece of an album, but it is a brilliant strong effort that has done a lot right.

It’s interesting to see experimental music tackled this way. There’s so much happening on ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’, yet so much of it works incredibly well in the context of the album. Each experimental trait and idea has bee executed so brilliantly, with the album’s main rule of thumb making for an incredibly interesting experience. It’s interesting to hear how the album progresses, giving it an element that sucks in the listener. It’s been pulled off very well, and is certainly a good indicator of level of creative ideas Ashley Reaks is capable of. This is brilliant experimental music, and the type one would love to hear more of.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • The World The Dead Have Made For Us
  • Wrong ‘Un
  • Joyless Joy
  • Disconnected

Ashley Reaks’ latest album ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’ is out now. 

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Japonesque – Sienná

A delightful blend of electronic treatments and styles find themselves being intertwined with traditional sounding Japanese styles, creating the very interesting album that is ‘Japonesque’ by Sienná. Sienná demonstrate and present a very interesting style of music on their latest album that is certainly an enjoyable album experience. The fusion of styles on ‘Japonesque’ works very well for the most part, with many of the songs sounding very relaxed and natural. It’s an interesting album experience that seems to work well for the most part but it is perhaps marred by a few weak elements that have somehow worked their own way into the album.

Sienná definitely demonstrate some great ideas on ‘Japonesque’, which is certainly more creative than many bands working within similar genres. Wonderful traditional sounding Japanese elements find themselves fused together with electronic beats, creating a sort of oddly relaxing yet pumped-up music experience. The album’s highlights are certainly the tracks where we the Japanese elements are the dominant elements within the music, as the wonderful ways in which the music fuses together with other elements is simply a great musical experience. It all seems to work well for the most part, with the fused elements showcasing Sienná in a great light.

Although ‘Japonesque’ is an enjoyable album for the most part, it does seem that it falls flat after a while. Whilst some tracks wonderfully indulge in the Japanese elements the style offers them, other tracks seem to not know what to do with themselves, and seem to just meander about the place not offering much that is truly enjoyable or great. The album feels divided between the great songs where the fusion has worked, and the poor tracks where the fusion hasn’t come across all that well. Sadly though it seems that the album features more of the weaker moments, which is a shame considering the strength of the album’s highlights.

Sienná have some good styles working for them, and they’re certainly capable of making it work for themselves. It seems though that ‘Japonesque’ is let down by the fact not every track on the album has had the same care and attention that the album’s highlights have had. It’s a shame as when the album works, it works incredibly well and is a very enjoyable album experience. When it doesn’t work though, it’s simply boring and dull, which in the case of ‘Japonesque’ results in a rather broken album experience that seems to switch from strong to weak. A little bit more refinement here and there from Sienná would have certainly made ‘Japonesque’ a strong album. Perhaps we’ll see that at some point in the future.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Japonesque
  • Beauty
  • Tranquility (Black Tortoise of the North)
  • Rest (White Tiger of the West

Sienná’s latest album ‘Japonesque’ is out now.

 

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Wasteland EP – Light Veins

Originally posted on echoesanddust.com

Light Veins’ ‘Wasteland’ EP doesn’t just come across as a typical post-rock music experience, but rather a more involved and more thought-out musical journey that takes us across visions of dystopian universes. Across the five tracks offered by the ‘Wasteland’ EP, Light Veins utilize their talents and ideas to feature what can only be described as a very cinematic experience. ‘Wasteland’ might only be a short taster of what Light Veins has to offer when it comes to the post-rock genre, but they certainly do deliver a great amount.

‘Wasteland’ is a thoroughly dark experience, reveling in the more mysterious and creepy atmospheres built up in the music. Light Veins present us with a varying range of images and emotions from the story they build up in the music, none of which is ever hopeful, but all of which is very indulgent. We’re treated to various little soundscapes and effects, accompanied by various post-rock motifs which all contribute to a very strong album effort. For the most part it’s all very subtle, and certainly more enjoyable than the more typical post-rock efforts we see from time to time. There’s just so much going on with ‘Wasteland’, which moves from chapter to chapter, offering distortion and ominous movements that present the story so clearly. Little motifs here and there work so well in changing the atmosphere that little bit to keep the story going. In fact any band who can use an old internet modems’ dial-up tone and utilize it to make their music stronger (in this case, Track.3 ‘Absence’) is certainly a band with the creative ideas that make for good music. We can argue that ‘Wasteland’ is perhaps a little bit too subtle, especially in the beginning, where it takes a little while for Light Veins to really come into their own. When they do though, boy does it work!

Light Veins might have produced a short EP with ‘Wasteland’ but it’s a fantastic offering into their own branch of atmospheric post-rock music. There’s some really subtle ambient tracks that certainly inspire fear (Track.2, Wasteland), whilst others manage to pump everything up and really go for it (Track.4, Looking Glass). There’s certainly a generous amount on offer here, which is all we really need to want more from Light Veins in the future.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Wasteland
  • Absence
  • Looking Glass
  • Epilogue

Light Veins debut EP ‘Wasteland’ is out now.

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