Posts Tagged With: bandcamp

True That – Michael Cera

true that cover art

Actor Michael Cera seems to have strayed away from his acting career just momentarily, for the subtle and quiet release of his first solo-album titled ‘True That’. The debut album from Cera comprises a whole collection of songs home recorded by Cera seemingly in his own free-time. For the most part, there’s something rather charming and enjoyable about the new album effort, which shows us a rather nice and intimate side to Michael Cera’s personality. The album is mostly made up of lo-fi/acoustic and some experimental tracks that seem rather simple and easy, though something about it all comes across rather nicely.

 Cera’s album doesn’t seem to be an effort to impress and astound all who listen to it, but rather a record that is simply an expression of his own feelings and ideas. Something about the music featured on the record feels rather sincere and nice. Nothing is too perfect on the record, though in an odd way, it adds a little charm to the album itself. There’s some interesting experimental ideas in a few of the songs, as well as some more traditional sounding tracks that push forward the whole singer/songwriter element of the album. All of these little ideas and experiments all seem to work rather nicely, resulting in an interesting album experience.

There’s a fair amount to be enjoyed on ‘True That’, which features some really nice tracks. Whilst not a huge problem, the album’s lo-fi elements result in a few tracks being a little bit too amateur to really make the album work brilliantly. Certain tracks as well seem to push some experimental ideas a little too much, making it sound a little bit too disjointed and confusing for it to compliment the albums overall sound. Whilst there’s very noticeable weak elements to the album itself, there’s a sense that it just doesn’t matter though, as this feels like an album released just for the heck of it, where pleasing people is an added bonus for Cera.

A lot of ‘True That’ feels rather amateur, and in essence it is, but this somehow gives the whole album a weird appealing element. A few really nice songs are supported by some rather good ones, making the whole album work rather nicely for the most part. As an album, ‘True That’ is rather quirky, upbeat and at times a little somber. It’s an interesting release that is certainly really enjoyable, showcasing us another side to Michael Cera’s personality, and what he is capable of. After the efforts on ‘True That’, it’d be very interesting to see Cera taking everything a step further, and properly recording his very own solo album. For now though, we can enjoy the very nice effort released thus far.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Too Much
  • 2048
  • Ruth
  • Those Days

Michael Cera’s debut album ‘True That’ is out now.

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IDIMMU – Bamboo Diet

Montreal based noise-rock band Bamboo Diet offer up their latest album effort ‘IDIMMU’, featuring a brilliantly charged array of hardcore rock tracks featuring fuzzy noisy instrumentals and the customary pissed-off vocal styles so often found in the genre. On ‘IDIMMU’, Bamboo Diet go headfirst into their own style, never once losing steam as the album progresses along its 8 tracks. The whole album offers up the customary angry style that’s often seen in the genre, giving the album an emotional edge (albeit: an angry one).

There’s a great number of strengths present on ‘IDIMMU’, making it an album worthy of being checked out (and considering the album is available for a minimum price of nothing, (or more if you’re feeling generous) then what’s there to lose?). ‘IDIMMU’ opens up to the noisy fuzz rock style Bamboo Diet offer up, featuring the angry vocal style that helps to really shape the tracks into their individual shapes. What makes the album enjoyable is the how Bamboo Diet don’t ever seem to weaken up as the album progresses. There’s equal amounts of energy in every single song, giving it a great flow as the album progresses from track to track. Musically, the album is rather intense, making it highly listenable within its genre.

If any weaknesses are to be found in Bamboo Diet’s style of music, it is arguably in how the band often opt for fuzzy guitar and bass in the vast majority of their songs. It gives the album a comfortable flow, but at times it feels like the band should at least be trying other settings on their instruments to give their music a little bit more scope. In fairness to Bamboo Diet, the diversity in of each song comes in their structure rather than their sound, and in the phrasing of the lyrics that the band’s vocalist Terence Boisvert goes for in each song.

It might not be the best album of its genre, but the enjoyable elements of ‘IDIMMU’ are enough to make it an album that can be described as great. It’s a great album to just indulge in, and let the angry emotions of each song take over in the listening process. It demonstrates some nice levels of talent from the band members as well, who have a fair amount to when it comes to complete album packages. For now, Bamboo Diet can relax and be at ease at the fact that they’ve produced a great album, though it means they’ll have to look at other avenues to enrage them in their next recording.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Bloodlands
  • Muddle
  • Nefarious
  • Writhe

Bamboo Diet’s latest album ‘IDIMMU’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://bamboodiet.bandcamp.com/music

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Morgan – Mayland

On ‘Morgan’, post-rock/shoe-gaze outfit Mayland go full-force with their branch of post-rock music, featuring fuzzy guitar chords and lead guitar lines to really push the music along at is slightly intense yet enjoyable pace. At times, Mayland go down a more shoe-gaze route of music, giving their music a little edge on their latest album effort. There’s many enjoyable elements on ‘Morgan’ which in some ways, isn’t a prime example of truly phenomenal instrumental rock music, but at the same time is inoffensive and enjoyable in its own rights.

There’s a lot of elements that work nicely on ‘Morgan’, making it an album/EP effort that is worth checking out. The tracks are mainly dominated by incredibly fuzzy guitar chords that crash through the backing instrumentals and really push it along, before being accompanied by the customary lead guitar that often makes up instrumental rock music. For the most part, it’s all very enjoyable, with there being a constant intense feeling that really keeps everything interesting and drawn in. What doesn’t work on ‘Morgan’ is how Mayland don’t seem to have enough ideas in terms of having a diverse range of songs. Most tracks seem to follow a formulaic route of Mayland’s fuzzy guitar chords, which after a while can become a little boring as there’s nothing else on show here. At times, there’s some nice suggestions that there’s some really great creative ideas by Mayland, but it doesn’t seem to have been translated into all of their songs.

It seems though that there’s enough ideas and talent from Mayland to make them a post-rock band that are worthy of listening to. Their most appealing element seems to be their technique of employing more shoe-gazing elements into their music, which for the most part works very well on ‘Morgan’, and at least sets it apart as being different from most post-rock albums. It just seems at times  that Mayland need to really attempt to diversify their sounds to really make their music great. There’s enough on ‘Morgan’ to make it an album/EP that is worth checking out, though we can only hope that it’s not the only trick Mayland have up their sleeve.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Enchilada
  • Dreamland
  • The Nineteen Nineties
  • Jane Lane

Mayland’s new EP ‘Morgan’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://maylandmusic.com/album/morgan

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Where Are You Now? – Kentucky Nightmare

There’s something almost simple about the music by Kentucky Nightmare, which in some odd way gives it an appealing element that makes it all listenable and enjoyable. On their latest album ‘Where Are You Now?’ the band indulge in manic ska-styled alternative rock music that’s just a little bit silly, a little bit amateurish, but somehow incredibly enjoyable for the most part. There’s a nice amount being offered by the band who just go for it with absolutely everything they’ve got. There’s an element of ‘Where Are You Now?’ becoming a little bit stale as it progresses along it’s track-listing, but for the most part it’s simply an enjoyable and fun album.

The main appealing elements of Kentucky Nightmare are their almost simple structures in their music, featuring very thrashy elements that are all toned down to give room for everything to be heard. At times, the band slow everything down, giving the album a bit more diversity than other bands within their genre. There’s some nice instrumental moments in a few of the songs, showing that Kentucky Nightmare actually don’t do the bare minimum other bands do to present their music, and instead have a nice amount of talent when it comes to their song-writing. The main thing is just how fun everything is, and how much fun the band must have been having when they recorded the album.

Where Kentucky Nightmare seem to fall a little flat is in how similar their instrumentals sound in each song. All they ever seem to do to diversify their music is either slow it down or speed it up. The sound of each instrument in most songs doesn’t seem to change all that much at all, and it would be nice to hear Kentucky Nightmare doing a little more in terms of their sound, pushing themselves a lot more than what they are doing to produce a record that is really strong. All the pieces of a good record are present on ‘Where Are You Now?’, and all it seems to need is that little extra push to get it over the edge.

For the most part though, Kentucky Nightmare have produced a fun and enjoyable record that features a lot of promise. Even though there’s an incredibly amateur element to the music (which in itself isn’t really a bad thing), there’s still an element of pure fun coming out through the music. It’s arguable that things might get a little bit repetitive, but the overall record contains enough to make it a good record that is worth checking out. In the meantime though, Kentucky Nightmare can at least enjoy everything they’ve managed to get right, and will hopefully work on their kinks on their next record if they decide to make one.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Sprung
  • Breaking Up Again
  • Rose Hill
  • I’m In Deep

Kentucky Nightmare’s latest album ‘Where Are You Now?’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://kentuckynightmare.bandcamp.com/releases

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Weapons EP – Dear Criminals

Upcoming indie-folk outfit Dear Criminals offer their debut EP titled ‘Weapons’. Featuring elements of varying genres ranging from lo-fi, to acoustic to anti-folk, Dear Criminals display a charming and humorous approach to songwriting. Comprised of six tracks, Dear Criminals showcase their talent as an indie-folk trio, showing off everything they have to offer as a band. ‘Weapons’ is, to put it simply, an enjoyable EP experience, lasting just long enough to give us a great taste of the band, as just short enough to leave us wanting more from the band.

‘Weapons’ seems to flutter around varying genres as it progresses from track to track. Although the band seems to identify themselves as an acoustic-indie-folk outfit, their music seems to demonstrate elements of lo-fi music (with a few tracks featuring sparse instrumentals and quiet vocal tracks), and even elements of anti-folk, (where the lyrics follow unconventional subjects normally featured in folk music). It’s all incredibly interesting though, as the band manage to showcase a varying range of dynamics and styles on their EP, showing that they have more to offer than the average bog-standard band who works within the genre. ‘Weapons’ is simply an enjoyable and fun EP, where the instrumentals back up brilliant singing from the bands two vocalists. Where ‘Weapons’ faults is in the first few songs, where there’s perhaps one to many lo-fi elements being demonstrated by the band. The instrumentals of a few of the songs seem to be a little bit similar to each other, which when compared with the rest of the tracks on the EP, comes across as disappointing. It’s not enough to detract from the overall experience of the EP, but it is perhaps a point that the band should consider when it comes to their future records.

Overall, Dear Criminals have managed to present what comes across as a brilliant EP experience. ‘Weapons’ contains enough creative ideas and to some extent, some originality, that suggests there’ll be a lot more to come from the band. Perhaps Dear Criminals can be described as The XX meets Mumford & Sons, or some other folk band. There’s a lot on offer by Dear Criminals who show that they have something to offer the music scene which is interesting and enjoyable. It’s a little unconventional at times, but that’s what makes ‘Weapons’ the interesting and fun experience that it is. It certainly makes me want to see more from this trio.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Bad Black Days
  • Took It From Me
  • Acid Rain
  • Fuck The Stars

Dear Criminals debut EP ‘Weapons’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://dearcriminals.bandcamp.com/album/weapons (Limited to 50 physical copies)

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Lost Canadians – Billy Ghost

 

After producing an offering of their talents earlier this year, with little indication of who or what the band was all about, Billy Ghost went into hiding, sadly removing the EP that served as an interesting if somewhat flawed introduction to their music. However, Billy Ghost has returned with a full length album ‘Lost Canadians’. Still falling into the lo-fi alternative rock genre, Billy Ghost broaden the scope of their musical style, showcasing an incredibly strong album tinged with lo-fi qualities and enjoyable tracks. Many of the flaws or problems that were on Billy Ghost’s self-titled debut EP seem to have all been ironed out, leaving what is essentially everything the group has to offer, which is thankfully an enjoyable amount.

On ‘Lost Canadians’, we see Billy Ghost once again indulging in the more lo-fi qualities of music, introducing us to a range of tracks featuring mellow guitar lines and hazy vocals. There’s an enjoyable range on the whole album, which seems to move from downbeat tracks to upbeat tracks, without ever upsetting the flow of the album. There’s a number of enjoyable tracks on the album, all of which present ‘Lost Canadians’ as a strong and enjoyable album. It whole album comes across as though Billy Ghost have put a lot of effort into it, in terms of the sound of each song, the lyrics and above all else, the presentation of each song on the album. There’seven  a few experimental ideas on the album as well, showing that Billy Ghost are also thinking outside of the box when it comes to their ideas in music. Most of it seems to pay off though, which presents ‘Lost Canadians’ as a strong album.

Of course, ‘Lost Canadians’ isn’t without its flaws though. The lo-fi genre is one that is very hit and miss, and even those that manage to produce great sounding music from the genre, still have an element of inaccessibility. It’s a problem most lo-fi bands have, and Billy Ghost is without exception. One thing that is interesting about ‘Lost Canadians’ is how a few of the songs offer brilliant instrumentals and vocal style, but then seem to end somewhat quickly, when some listeners might have been wanting more. In some ways, it’s a better alternative than doing the opposite, and having the tracks drag on for to long, though it is an element of disappointment present on the album.

Billy Ghost have managed to produce a very fine album, that manages to utilize a great number of strengths from the band itself, and from what the lo-fi alternative rock genre can offer to music. It’s a strong album, with very few weak moments and where each song has some form of enjoyable element. ‘Lost Canadians’ showcases Billy Ghost as having a great number of strengths, including their instrumentals which sound brilliant on the album in a few songs. There’s a lovely range on the album as well, where some tracks are incredibly fun and enjoyable, and others which are incredibly emotive and sad. It’s a fine album, and one that definitely shows off what the band is capable of. It’ll be great to see what they can come up with next.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Bright Yellow Walkman
  • Teenage Drugs
  • Look At All The Things
  • Fall Out, Baby Blue

Billy Ghost’s new album ‘Lost Canadians’ is not currently for sale, but can be streamed at: http://billyghost1.bandcamp.com/

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Sorry EP – The Intermission Project

Offering a nice variety of genres, The Intermission Project offer their debut EP ‘Sorry’, featuring three very strong and enjoyable tracks. Although three tracks is more suiting for a single-release rather than an EP release, there’s still enough on ‘Sorry’ to make the whole experience very enjoyable. There’s a lot of strengths to The Intermission Project, whose members all work well together in presenting each song and all the strengths they possess. There’s some lovely appealing elements to The Intermission Project, who come across as an enjoyable and promising band, who have a good amount to offer.

On ‘Sorry’, the band utilize elements of various genres, ranging from the simplicity of singer/songwriter, to alternative rock and various others. Although ‘Sorry’ only features three tracks, it still manages to serve as a brilliant introduction to The Intermission Project, and what they have to offer. Each track on the EP contains wonderful elements that makes them all stand out in their own respective rights, ranging from the vocal style used, to the backing instrumentals. There’s a wonderful variety on the EP, which is incredibly surprising considering that there’s only three songs. It certainly paves the way in a promising way, suggesting that a full album release would be highly enjoyable. It’s odd, as each track seems to get stronger and stronger, offering more and more and showing us the real range and scope of The Intermission Project. The only drawback that can really be found in The Intermission Project is in their similarity to other artists, most notably Mumford & Sons, who the band sadly manage to sound very similar to. What’s lucky is that The Intermission Project manage to offer their own style and range that is different to Mumford & Sons, though at the core of it, the similarities still remain.

Overall though, The Intermission Project and their latest EP ‘Sorry’ is one of the most enjoyable listening experiences out there. Each track offers a wonderful amount, contributing well to the EP’s overall shape and sound. It’s incredibly promising and highly enjoyable, and certainly makes me want to keep an eye on their progress in the music world. Considering the range being offered on the EP, it certainly shows promise for what is hopefully going to come in the future. For now, The Intermission Project get to enjoy the fact that they’ve made a stellar EP, and one that shows a phenomenal amount of promise for this upcoming band

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Sorry
  • Come Away With Me
  • I’ve Been Waiting

The Intermission Project’s debut EP ‘Sorry’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://theintermissionproject.bandcamp.com/album/sorry-ep

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Scraps EP – Tom McConnell

Combining blues music with folk elements, Tom McConnell offers his debut EP, featuring four phenomenal tracks. On ‘Scraps’, we see the first offering by this incredibly promising musician, who demonstrates a very interesting scope to his slant on various genres. The whole EP seems to be steeped in the blues genre, though McConnell seems to offer much more than just this bare genre, giving a very rich and enjoyable experience. ‘Scraps’ serves as the perfect introduction to McConnell’s music, where each of the four tracks all demonstrate something that is being offered by the musician. It’s a very enjoyable experience that certainly shows promise from McConnell.

Although ‘Scraps’ is a somewhat short EP experience, lasting just under twenty minutes, it manages to serve its purpose well of introducing us to McConnell’s music. Acoustic riffs are accompanied by various beats and other instrumentals that make up the very core of each track. It’s the vocals though by McConnell, where we see the talent come through. McConnell’s vocal style fits perfectely into the genre he’s chosen, sounding every bit as bluesy as the instrumental backing tracks. There’s also some wonderful techniques being used in the instrumentals, where complicated rhythms show some real talent. What’s nice as well is how McConnell chooses to close the album with a gentle acoustic track, showing that there’s no restriction to the style McConnell is using for his music. It’s a highly enjoyable EP, where the only weaknesses are in a few of the techniques used, where certain ideas don’t come across as well as McConnell might have hoped. In particular is in the album’s longest track ‘Flags’, where the song is punctuated by a deep and gravely vocal interlude. Although interesting, it does stand out in particular as it makes me wonder what purpose does it have on the track? There’s a lot of promise here, and although there’s a few kinks, the EP itself seems to suggest that it is something that can easily be ironed out.

Overall, ‘Scraps’ by Tom McConnell is perhaps one of the more perfect EPs to have come out in recent times. It manages to achieve everything an EP should do, and also leaves the listener simply wanting more to hear. Everything has been done well, wit McConnell not cutting corners in terms of production and song-writing. It’s a fine effort, and one that is both highly enjoyable and promising. Whether or not McConnell’s style will translate well into a full-album is anybody’s guess, though ‘Scraps’ seems to suggest that enough works in McConnell’s style to make sure that it would work. In any case, I certainly am awaiting a full-album release.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Dead Man’s Shoes
  • Show You How
  • Flags
  • Old Edinburgh Town

Tom McConnell’s debut EP release ‘Scraps’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://tommcconnell.bandcamp.com/album/scraps

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Prettiest Colors EP – Zac Evans

The first EP by aspiring musician Zac Evans, titled ‘Prettiest Colors’ follows along typical elements of the singer-songwriter genre. With four tracks featuring just voice and guitar, Zac Evans offers his own creative ideas in music for the world to hear. On his first EP, there is evidence of a talented musician who has some very interesting ideas when it comes to the lyrical themes and presentation of music. There’s many elements on ‘Prettiest Colors’ which need a lot of work if Zac Evans is looking to progress, though it seems the budding musician has managed to lay some fairly promising groundwork.

If we’re completely honest with ourselves, there’s little that separates Zac Evans from the many other singer-songwriter acts out there. The very core of his music is the same formula used by thousands of other artists. The album is comprised simply of  simple guitar melodies, which Evans uses as the vehicle for his own expression. It is here that we find the appeal and enjoyment of Zac Evans. There’s simple heart and soul at the very centre of each song, which overshadows the fact that this has been done before by many others. Although the songs sound somewhat poorly recorded, they serve as a wonderful taster of the capabilities of Zac Evans as an artist. It hints at something greater to come, providing circumstances work out for the aspiring musician. The songs themselves are enjoyable, and all work well in terms of presenting a wonderful EP experience that utilizes his own strengths as a song-writer. It seems the main talents of Evans are in his song-writing, and the lyrics he chooses, which seem to just sound personal to himself. It’d be amazing to see what the musician could manage with a bit of a budget behind his work. The simple way to make sure of that though would be to buy his album!

Overall, I find ‘Prettiest Colors’ to be a very enjoyable EP. Despite a poor sound-quality on the songs, everything still manages to come together nicely, with the slight crackly recording process sounding almost endearing in some odd way. There seems to be a definite hint of real raw talent on the EP, suggesting some great talent of Zac Evans. To some, ‘Prettiest Colors’ might easily be dismissed as nothing special, though I find that the EP itself is simply just an enjoyable and pleasant listening experience. It certainly demonstrates some of the talent of Zac Evan, and hopefully if this first EP ‘Prettiest Colors’ takes off, then we can hopefully see more of the budding musician.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Prettiest Colors
  • Until The River Runs Dry

Zac Evans debut EP ‘Prettiest Colors’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://zacevans3.bandcamp.com/album/prettiest-colors-ep

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Tame Your Hubris EP – Anti-Fascista

Experimental band (or artist, it’s not very well specified) Anti-Fascista offer their latest 8-minute EP ‘Tame Your Hubris’. On the EP, Anti-Fascista offer four experimental tracks that seem to fuse various styles of ambient music with experimental ideas. The overall EP could be seen as very passable, as there’s not a great deal being offered by the band, who only devote 8 minutes of music to their latest EP. However… under the layers of music seems to be something more at work, that adds an element of interest, though why, I can’t honestly say.

‘Tame Your Hubris’ is made up of four tracks, two of which surpass the 3 minute mark, whilst the others seem to just serve as little indents between the two main tracks. The whole EP is rather droll, as each track just sounds incredibly amateur, with no real attempt to create something interesting. The two 3-minute tracks are the main focal point of the whole EP, but they offer very little as they just progress along odd and confusing beats. It seems to go on and on, but without ever reaching some form of destination. It’s passable, but I find there’s something interesting beneath the layers of instrumentals. Anti-Fascista seem to have some interesting, if somewhat basic, ideas at the core of their music, which gives ‘Tame Your Hubris’ some form of interesting layer to it. It’s incredibly inaccessible music, but there’s something there all the same. Something about the fact that the musicians have taken time to just create something, makes the whole thing somewhat interesting. It’s not something that is easily enjoyable, but there’s still something enjoyable about it. At least, to this listener there is.

One can easily dismiss ‘Tame Your Hubris’, but I at least find it interesting enough to attempt to discuss it. There’s very little that can really be said about the EP, and about the band itself, as there’s very little about them. I’d assume that this is simply the result of one person, or maybe more, simply offloading their ideas into a musical form, and presenting it to be heard by anyone who happens to chance upon it. It is by far, not the best music that is out there, but it is at least creative on some deeper level. There’s something interesting about Anti-Fascista, and the bizarre music being created by them, wherever they are.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Tame Your Voyeur
  • Asa

Anti-Fascista’s latest EP ‘Tame Your Hubris’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://anti-fascista1.bandcamp.com/album/tame-your-hubris

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