In Depth, Other

Late Listens: My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (2008)

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                                            Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Part.1

It was hard for me to pick where to begin with My Morning Jacket. Logically you start at the first release then work through chronologically, or if you know someone who their favourite band is My Morning Jacket (MMJ) you can always ask them.

So I did Will is a huge MMJ fan but as the chill and free spirit he is his answer was ‘Just start where you want’. So I went with the album that had the song I had heard first. That being Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2 The track is one of their most well known and so I jumped in and have eventually got to listening to the MMJ album Evil Urges (It Still Moves, 2003 was a close second as I love Run Thru, then again I have heard great things about Z, 2005 as well which I can now verify)

Any-who there is a 1960’s aura around parts (i.e. Evil Urges) of this record as the vocals at least for me fit into the psychedelic hippie space, high pitched and without constraint on the first song on the first song which is also shares its name with the title of the album. It is slightly askew but sets up well for the feel of what is to come as throughout the tracks their are similar psychedelic, experimental and progy spots.

 As I wrote in the the earlier paragraph the most well known track off this album and possibly in their entire discography is Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2 but as you can expect there is a Pt 1. The nae is one of the only things that they have in common along with a few of the lyrics and the contrasting sentiments. Pt 1 is wanting that connection with another ‘Touch me I’m going to scream if you don’t’ and Pt 2 is experiencing the connection ‘Oh, this feeling it is wonderful, don’t you ever turn it off!’. Sonically they differ the most, both are tremendous, Pt 1’s drumming is a particular draw with what I describe as stuttery feel mixed into the classic rock-esc beats, whilst on Pt 2 they are more robotic to fit into the slower, tripy vibes created by the the reverbed vocals and electronic synths that begin kick off the song ad come back in various forms in the chorus. Pt 1 is more traditional as it is more compact and shorter, it feels more intimate and emotional and Pt 2 is more celebratory.         

Perhaps the sweetest moment on the recording is Librarian a love song to someone who’s occupation is that of the songs name. It is a softly picked acoustic guitar driven piece with romantic strings and tender lyrics. It also struck me as it reminds me of the times I went to the library as a kid and more recent times Uni living in the library doing all nightmers frantically working to get them done for the looming deadlines. I guess I am realising my fondness for Libraries (though there wasn’t a Librarian that I took a fancy too).

Remnants straight up rocks with the killer lead lines and punching rhythms. Sec Walkin is a country song so there are a number of genres explored on Evil Urges but don’t worry as MMJ are stellar musicians they pull them all off with ease.

Evil Urges is just easy to listen to as it is consistent in its quality songwriting, intriguing expressions of sound, progressive movements and diversity in styles.

 

 

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Other

Unlucky Morpheus – Black Pentagram (EP, 2017)

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                                               Black Pentagram (Official Video)

Stemming from the number of anime shows I have watched over the years (DBZ, Bleach, (both) Naruto series and a few of the Gundam series (It isn’t that obscure a list  and would be categorised as basic by most Otaku’s) you find some belting opening and closing themes e.g. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood’s Again performed by Yui is a contagious wonder, or the whole soundtrack to Attack On Titan is a masterpiece and most recently for me the absurd but extremely fitting Glam Metal opening to One Punch Man – The Hero!! Set Fire to the Furious Fist.

It has lead to YouTube suggesting some more Japanese music and one such suggestion was Unlucky Morpheus a band that I did not realise is fronted by the singer Fuki. She is the singer for another band called Doll$boxx a combination of the band Gacharic Spin (who has the Coolest Drummer in the world in Hana <3) and Fuki who is also in Light Bringer. A big reason why I didn’t notice is due to the different look she has, going from a ‘cuter’ look with long blonde hair to a sharper, edgy brunette for fronting Unlucky Morpheus.

Black Pentagram was the suggested track as it is the lead and title of the three track release lasting 12:34 (whether or not you count that as an actual extended play is debatable). Musically it is a mixture of melodic, power, thrash and traditional metal with a slither of brutal screeching. Though that really is only a slither with the screaming only appearing in Black Pentagram to great effect and it is a shame for it not to be utilised more. What drew me in was Fuki’s voice being distinct and different from Doll$boxx’s output. With it being in a lower register it really stands out from the majority of metal I personally listen to.

Dead Leaves Rising is rather straight forward as a metal song with all the elements expected its solid. But it is the other bookend Violet (Live) that rivals the opener for which song is strongest. It leans more on the classical characteristics within the music supplied by the violin playing member as she has a pivotal role, plus the piano introduction. Believe it or not it adds even more drama to the theatrical sounding release.

Black Pentagram, Dead Leaves Rising and Violet are all extremely well executed in both their franticness and precision. Vocally outstanding, technically accurate and a joy to listen to, with this type of music the more grand it is the better luckily enough Unlucky Morpheus are extremely grand and spectacular this EP a wonderful surprise to add to the ever growing list of good music released in 2017.

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Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: The Maccabees – Kamakura

                                                                                       Kamakura

The Macabees have been disbanded earlier this year playing their final gigs in July admittedly I was never an avid follower however the music did cross my ears via my twin brother playing them from his room.

So knowing that they had a good number of decent songs it was a nice reminder when they popped up on my Spotify suggestion playlist. This song from the final album Marks to Prove It (2015).

In short I have had this song on constantly there is just a wintry quality that is fitting with the changing seasons. The lyrics are sombre throughout but in particular of not ‘saying a word because it breaks her heart’ add to the melancholic feel to the track. Furthermore the stripped back verses are gripping and then loosen up into a more expansive chorus with a thin string like sound backing creating a shift that is very effective in moving you.

I guess it is one of those instances where you find a song that fits not only your mood but the weather and environment around you increasing your level of enjoyment.

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Singles/Songs, Vinyl

Vinyl Vindication: Wye Oak – Spiral/Wave is Not the Water (7′ Special Adult Swim Singles)

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                                                                                                     Spiral

There are fewer things I have bought as quick as this very special 7 inch. Spiral is one of my favourite tracks so much so that when I heard them warming up with it at The Soup Kitchen back in 2014 I threw my arms aloft and made a instinctual gleeful noise of some kind.

Upon seeing the limited pressing it was a must have. Visually a striking red vinyl with a  tripy cover and a contrasting white border matches the music. Spiral is a wonderfully captivating spiraling track. From the effect layered vocals that echo and delay swirling around your head, the pulsing bass alongside the guitar add to the sense of surrealness.

Spiral ends by adding a beautiful glockenspiel, keyboard or synth(?) sound that joins the familiar instrumentation then after it has been playing for around a minute it is interrupted by static before coming to a close on a lone glockenspiel(?) or keyboard line.

Wave is Not the Water flows just like its title suggests there is a very natural feel that comes across from the totally man made electronics. Vocally it pulls from the same place as the A side but they are not delayed but just as serene.

Instantly this 7′ has become a prized possession of mine and a piece of music that I do and will cherish for as long as I am breathing.

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Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence (Single)

                                                    The Sin and the Sentence (Official Video)

This is the best song they have released in the last 4 years plus it’s more memorable than everything on the whole of Silence In the Snow (2015).

It’s the lead track of the forthcoming album (out 20/10/2017) of the same name. Packing a hell of a punch with Heafy screaming again after not doing so for the last LP, because he put his voice out on tour and he was worried of the potential damage caused. But to many ‘fans’ the screaming is welcomed with open arms since it was a sore point for many when it was no longer present. Some complained about it and are still irritated that they have changed. As bands always should. Change is what Trivium do. Get over it ‘fans’ who don’t like how they sound now and go listen to Ascendancy! If that is your Trivium stop moaning and stick to that record it isn’t going anywhere (sorry that is something that really irks me).

The Sin and the Sentence has killer hooks that come in multiple forms, both the clean vocal melodies and harsher have their contagions. As ever the riffage is layered on super thick from the guitars, leads, rhythm rule (provided by Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu). New drummer Alex Bent really frees the band up as he can do everything. He and Paolo Gregoletto are a great duo instantly playing brilliantly as a rhythm section. Many of the passages will stick with you.

The Sin and the Sentence is a stupidly triumphant return that will please every Trivium fan no matter which Trivium they prefer.

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Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Good Foxy – Easy Money (Single)

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                                                                        Easy Money Single

New single from the Clitheroe greats is as joyful and summery as they come. The vocals are a delight to the ears light over the clean crisp upbeat rhythm guitars, bass happily plays along with the drums are a perfect match as ever. The solos are as ever air guitarable reverbed and all more awesome for it.

The single is just as good a quality as all their 1970’s influenced psychedelic music is, which is music that is missing from a lot of peoples libraries and Good Foxy are there to fill that gap in. Even if you don’t know that there is a gap once you listen to this single you’ll know that there was.

Easy Money is easy listening.

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Album Reviews

Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination (2017)

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                                                          Nadine Shah’s BandCamp Page

I have been rather unmotivated recently not really being spurred on to write much other than Brand New and Everything Everything’s albums (the later review is on the way but has taken longer than it should) then I found this stupendous creation (I found it this past weekend and have bought it twice).

The production of this record is the best I have heard all year. It sounds like it was created in a post-apocalyptic studio where all the instruments are radiating, vibrating and sort of off ear twitching frequencies. It could not be any more perfect. It really enhances the music and sad real themes which very much incorporate what a sorry state the world is at the moment (just as Brand New’s Science Fiction and Everything Everything’s A Fever Dream do in their own ways).

The tone of the guitars throughout the record is twisted, fuzzy and spiky often backed by buzzing synths/other electronic sounding keys in 2016, Ordinary or Relief to point out a few instances. Relief also is blessed with amazing saxophone/horns another is The Way Out where they are steady then the way they are used for both endings are inventive. Due to the saxophones application The Way Out has a dystopian jazz feel that climaxes in the most satisfying of ways. A track about the movement of refugees around the globe ‘Where would you have them go, A generation searching for a home’. Reinforcing that Shah is commenting on/critiquing major political and social issues of 2016/17.

Further evidence of this is Yes Men is aimed at the ‘Fascist in the Whitehouse’ (a lyric from 2016) which is an over exaggeration but still there are people who think that the current President is a bit too far leaning to the right on the spectrum. Title track Holiday Destination says that the, ‘Bad guys are winning’ it is all rather pessimistic but not to the point that it is soul sapping of all enjoyment the album really works around the themes chosen.    

Shah’s voice is extraordinary based in the lower to mid ranges it echoes across the album bringing yet more power to the lyrics, enhancing the music also. The use of her voice on Relief with the line that follows the muted guitars is one of many ways in which it is deployed to great effect.

Holiday Destination is a poignant album from all angles there is thought in every one of Shah’s words, the artwork is of a building with massive holes in it and a child peering out of one, the music mirroring this also. Nadine Shah has released not only a truly special sonic experience but more importantly a record that highlights the struggles around the globe with a blunt and mature approach.

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