Tag Archives: review

a new industrial band on the horizon

17 Feb

Ok, I may have exaggerated with this one. It seems like File Tranfer Protocol (from Akron, OH) is a band that exists since 2007. At least this is the date which marks this one-man-band’s first recordings.

Again, I found it through Facebook and fell in love with it completely. At first I felt like almost 15 years ago, when I first listened through Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral. Of course, I’m exaggerating here as well. FTP is maybe not as genius as NIN. But it’s a very good band and, with time, who knows what happens if this guy develops?

Is there something I don’t like? I cannot get used to the vocals, somehow. But I guess it’s a question of time. For sure my one sole criticism is the videos. They’re not so bad, especially for a totally independent band which, luckily, didn’t sell it’s stuff to any of the labels. Still, the guy makes really funny faces when singing. I understand he is emotional. After all – this is what we’re searching for in any music. Real, true emotions. So, no wonder Sean Rieger (the man behind FTP) makes faces while singing. Still, to me it looks kinda funny and the mimics seems more of a soul star than an industrial rock vocalist.

What do I like then? Everything else. The strong Nine Inch Nails influence. The typical industrial rhythms. The great harmonies. Guitar riffs, tempo changes and mood changes.

As I understand from the band’s website and their FB fanpage, the currently issued tracks will be part of the new album to be released, as I suppose, either this year or next year (depending on how quickly Sean Rieger works but this I can only suspect, I have no data on this). Well, for sure they’ve got one more fan that is eager to listen to the whole of it.

Man… I love independent artists. And I love the Internet X-D

To view FTP’s official website, click here.
To view FTP’s Facebook fanpage, click here.
To enter FTP’s blog, click here.

I’m including a youtube vid of World of One. However, do listen to Ivory Towers on FTP’s official website (or on facebook). It’s the best! Made my jaw drop!

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silly

12 Feb

Be careful what you wish you for. Not only it may not come true but you, also, may appear silly.

Alice in Videoland, from Sweden, is a self-proclaimed best electropunk band in the world. Well. Guess what – it isn’t! Not to mention the fact that they’re not punk in any possible way whatsoever. LOL!

I had a hard time listening to their newest album A Million Thoughts and They’re All About You. I have to admit that if I went to a club in which this music would have been played, I’d have a pretty good night and I would dance until the dawn. But claiming it’s the best electroclash band in the world is a huge misunderstanding (and lack of any self-criticism).

Sure, there are some songs which are pretty ok but it’s a little disappointing that the best track of the album is Buffalo Stance, which is a cover of a cult single by Neneh Cherry. I’m also afraid that most of their songs incline more into the direction of a very mediocre disco rather than electroclash. In itself, it’s sad. The broadly understood electro has so many possibilities, you can really go into most psychedelic loops, you can rock hard (which is not worse than most though rock bands), you can create experimental things and you can play really catchy, however, ambitious disco songs.

Well, A Million Thoughts and They’re All About You doesn’t have ANY of it! From the musical point of view, both experimental artists and most disco ones are much better than this crap. From Peaches to Aphex Twin, from Bodyrox to Seefeel – everything is better than this! God, at some point I thought that even Britney Spears is better than this, at least she’s consequent in her genre and a big bunch of professional music engineers work their asses off to turn her whining into a dancefloor hit (and, in most cases, they do succeed, you gotta give her that).

What is even more embarrasing is that this album doesn’t differ at all from hundreds of really cheap and shallow records of local Eastern European disco bands. Remember the Romanian band O-Zone? One of the worst songs in the history? Or the Russian band of pretending to be lesbians, t.A.T.u.? Ok, Eastern European music engineering sucks completely. But apart from the fact that you can tell Alice in Videoland has large quantities of money that allows them to buy most expensive computers and hire most expensive experts, what is the difference between them and O-Zone or t.A.T.u.? Well, I’ll tell you: NONE!

Let’s think. Cheap rhythms – in both cases. A shallow, very overestimated vocal of really mediocre abilities – guess what, t.A.T.u. has it as well. Completely repetitive and boring melodies – surprise, surprise, you can find them anywhere.

Some of the songs are not that bad. I mean, if I hear In a Band in one of the clubs, I won’t run away or anything. But nothing, absolutely nothing can force me to listen to this record ever again. Once is absolutely enough!

I’m cruel but… fuck it. To make you compare what we’re talking about, I’m adding four (!!) songs/videos. Little Bird by Alice in Videoland. Sparks by t.A.T.u. which is not so much different in terms of quality – meaning, both of them completely suck; or worse, t.A.T.u. is not so bad compared to Little Bird. Then: the best song of the newest album by Alice in Videoland, Bender – and, actually, it’s the only song worth listening to. And, finally, Bodyrox feat. Luciana. An old hit. I know. But just as a reminder, how this shit should sound like.

This is crap no. 1:

Crap no. 2, which proves to be far better, imo, than crap no. 1:

This is how the whole album should be like, the best song of the album:

This is how this genre should sound in general. An absolute height in the wide disco/electro/dance genre, however, Alice in Videoland will never reach this level, let’s be honest:

p.s. I won’t even mention the quality of lyrics because this is where Alice in Videoland hits rock bottom and doesn’t have, absolutely doesn’t have one single song on the album that would defend them from my cruel comment. Just don’t google their lyrics. It’s for your own safety.

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girl panic! – fuck yeah! I panicked!

11 Feb

I thought the world would end, cause I was afraid I would like the new Duran Duran album. But I didn’t, so…

Now, let me explain you here. Not being a fan of Duran Duran I… yes, it’s going to be embarrasing… I… I have to admit I love some of their records. Such hits as Ordinary World or Hungry Like a Wolf are absolute classics. I may feel ashamed that I love these hits but, on the other hand, should I feel guilty? Most amazing and groundbreaking artists admitted that Duran Duran was important in their musical upbringing. Artists as different as Beck, Courtney Love, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Goldfrapp, Franz Ferdinand or Gwen Stefani. Yeah, you heard me. That means not only those who are active in the broadly understood genre of electronic music but also hardcore rockers.

I was wondering, if I’d like the newest Duran Duran album issued digitally at the end of December 2010 (which will be released physically in March 2011) – All You Need Is Now. Why I didn’t? There are a few answers to that and, of course, you don’t need to agree.

First of all, it’s a very diverse album in terms of quality (yes!) There are songs which are great and remind you of the greatest days of Duran Duran. Such as the eponymous track that opens the album. Such as Blame the Machines which clearly shows that Duran Duran didn’t only influence generations but that new achievements in electro also influenced Duran Duran. The highlights also include the somehow dramatic but still touching Before the Rain and – definitely – the disco track Safe (In the Heat of the Moment) which features Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters. This one is a perfect dancefloor track.

But there are also songs which lack something. Either they’re a bit boring or just don’t have any kind of a strong feature that would have made them outstanding. The corny supposed-to-be a kind of a ballad Leave a Light On is just boring and tiring. Runaway Runaway doesn’t differ in any way at all from hundreds of new wave songs whether they were created in the 1980s or today. The Man Who Stole a Leopard is just a very bad disco song which is extremely cheezy. Girl Panic! includes the most horrible synthesizer solo I’ve ever heard in my whole life and it is truly shocking that Duran Duran didn’t (somehow) realize that much has changed since the last 20 years and that creative possibilities of electronic music are much wider now but also (huh-huh!) chose Girl Panic! as the second single of the album. I mean… really, guys, whose idea was that???

The second thing is… right. The test of time. I’m not saying that Duran Duran shouldn’t stay true to its music and that it should record something completely new. I’m not even saying they should go in the direction of Warp Records (although I am a Warp fan, definitely). I just think that it’s a shame that such acknowledged and, after all, talented artists didn’t use the new possibilities, didn’t even try to add a fresh spice to their music, didn’t feel a need to experiment at all.

The third thing is… uhm, ok, that’s the last one. I don’t want it to become a list of mistakes. I’m not sure if it’s engineered correctly. Mark Ronson is considered one of the best living producers. He’s the one responsible for the rise to fame of many new artists such as Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen or Adele (whose newest album I also need to listen to). Maybe I was wrong but I expected that All You Need Is Now would have been a bit more funky. And it’s not. I’m sorry to say this but the music sounds just flat. And when, in cases of some though experimental electro-shit, it’s an advantage, here – I’m not so sure about it. The sound doesn’t have the depth it should have. One step further and it would’ve become a bunch of midi-generated melodies (sic!)

Luckily, Simon LeBon still has the voice of his youth. He’s over 50 now and this boyish, metallic voice still amazes me.

Btw, I just had the most silly thought. Maybe it’s the British accent but… in All You Need Is Now (not in the chorus, though) doesn’t LeBon sound like Liam Gallagher’s brother? o_O

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if only Kurt Weill was a woman, his name would be… Amanda Fucking Palmer

9 Feb

Yes. She strikes back. With an absolutely brilliant record. And I have to admit that Amanda Palmer surprised me a lot. Being a fan of the Dresden Dolls I wasn’t really convinced if I liked her solo works. She absolutely is an amazing lyricist. Probably one of the best of our time. But musically? Meh… Her first solo album lacked the punk influence that the Dresden Dolls absolutely had. Actually, this is one of the things that make me love the Dresden Dolls. The amazing lyrics of Amanda Palmer, her voice, her stage persona combined with raw, angry, post-punk music. I may be wrong but I just have a feeling she was much more angry back in the old days.

That doesn’t mean, however, that something is wrong here. Palmer changes her style, her music, her stage personalities with utmost virtuosity. She’s an extremely professional stage musician who made an unbelievable transformation from an angry punk girl into a chanson-singer who is deeply rooted in cabaret, in the songs of the Kurt Weill/Bertold Brecht duo, in Broadway. Influenced by an amazing variety of musical genres, not even being afraid of finding a way to incorporate some Russian musical themes (A Formidable Marinade), she remains brilliant as ever. Or even more than ever.

The pleasure of listening to Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under is also strengthened by the fact that most of the tracks are written and/or recorded during her Australia/New Zealand tour in 2010. So you get a taste of not only her music and the amazing lyrics but also a little insight into what her connection with the audience is like. And, Amanda Fucking Palmer, I gotta give you that – you’re amazing when interacting with your audience. Witty, charming, in-yer-face enough but never bullying, perfectly capable of making jokes and improvising in both, music and acting.

When it comes to the lyrics. Awww… I don’t want this whole post to look like I’m praising Palmer without any criticism at all. But she mastered it a long time ago. And she remains perfect.

Is there any criticism at all then? Well… yeah, sometimes I wish she could revive the Dresden Dolls and perhaps develop in a new direction. I just miss this band, that’s all. But I’m sane enough to see that she will develop and change her styles, make ups and ideas. I just need to wait for her new crazy album and I’m sure each time she can give me something new but still true to her roots and musical interests. After all. As I said before. She’s just brilliant.

p.s. Below – a video which is great but not really showing the spirit of the album and a song which… shows the spirit of the album :-]

p.s. 2 I also hate vegemite!

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the noble art of giving your music away for free

8 Feb

Yep, yep. Another band has just appeared among those who chose to advertise, give away for free and sell deluxe copies of their music through the Internet. Paaliaq, I salute to you!

Of course, in the very beginning I was afraid of the quality of music. Not of the sound. Of the very music itself. It is pretty different when such acknowledged artists as Nine Inch Nails or Radiohead distribute their music through the Internet. In this case it is often combined with legal problems and a growing frustration with the record industry.  Many journalists noticed the problem of entering the market by a completely unknown artist. Let’s face it. If you don’t know the musicians and you see that they’re happy, if you download their music (legally, of course), there is a slight anxiety coming with that package. You may think and, let’s be honest, you do think: “Awright then, hereby I state that I am going to download a shitload of crap that I will not be even able to listen through”. The beauty of the Internet, however, makes you immediately add: “And it’s for free. Meh…”

So, sure, I was a little anxious cause I couldn’t tell if Paaliaq would be a shitload of crap or a mesmerizing discovery. And? Well, I blame it on the good days, nice weather, feeling cool and relaxed, blah-blah-blah, but for the past few days I was extremely lucky with music and everything I touched turned either to gold or silver at least. I discovered the amazing Absolace, adored the new record of Seefeel and now this. Either I lost my ear or I became some kind of a musical Queen Midas.

Paaliaq IS mesmerizing. What annoys me the most is that I absolutely cannot find any info about them. I’m digging through gigabytes of data and, unfortunately, little I can find. I’m not even sure if it’s “them”. It could be one single guy. The Paaliaq facebook page claims: “I am gathering my music into albums, to be released during 2011”. So it could be one person. All we know is that it’s an artist/s from London, who defines his/their music as “rocktronica”.

What caught my eye though is that the debut album Keepi was released on January. The second one, Zosma, is out now. There are at least two more coming up this year. If all of them are as good as Keepi, then I’m going to face a serious problem here. Wanting to write about each and every one of them, I’d have to devote the whole year of 2011 to Paaliaq. God knows how much of “my music” was gathered! Obviously, I cannot focus on Paaliaq only (LOL). But I will write a bit about Keepi and I will update you on the other releases by Paaliaq.

Keepi is absolutely amazing. Among the influences Paaliaq names e.g. dEUS, the Cinematic Orchestra, Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman, Björk, Massive Attack and many more. All of this is true, however, I’d add Radiohead to it. Cause Paaliaq, remaining an electro band (what the hell is “rocktronica” anyway?), is still very true to the roots of the British alternative rock. It actually reminds me of the crucial moment in Radiohead’s career when guys decided to shift from being “I-don’t-know-what-but-it’s-not-britpop-still-not-enough-to-be-rock” to a more experimental route that redefined their music and their artistic career in general. Well, I wouldn’t say Paaliaq is as innovative as the electro experiences of Radiohead. But it is somewhere in between. It’s somewhere in the Radiohead shift.

Moody, ballad-like melodies played mainly by guitar and/or piano, pretty classical and, therefore, almost tribal, ritual-like drumming (which, actually, reminds me of Maureen Tucker of the Velvet Underground) with a pretty cool electro noise from time to time. An interesting male voice that leads the whole. All of it makes a great experience. I was surprised that a debut album could be so well arranged and performed. On the other hand, as I mentioned before, noone knows for how many years was this music performed and gathered. It’s really hard to say if we can treat it like a debut album or not ;-]

The minor flaw of Keepi is perhaps the fact that in some of the cases instrumental pieces are slightly worse than the rest. This is something that is very distracting or annoying even. Right after a pretty mediocre Ascension which is rather blunt we receive a beutifully simple and touching Eel Moon. Of course, albums are full compositions with a structure and their role is not being greatest hits or highlights of… However, I found it disturbing that innovative and inspired tracks (e.g. Vangueria or Inhale Exhale as one of my favorites) are compiled together with pretty boring ones. Maybe that’s the point of “gathering music into albums”? An album is not only a gathering, it’s a whole process of creation. This is one sole fault of Keepi. It is amazing but you can tell that some pieces do not fit the puzzle and perhaps it would have been wiser to be much more strict with choosing the tracks for the album.

No other mistakes noticed. I rest my case. And do download Paaliaq. It’s worth it. A really good piece of alternative shit! You’d be surprised!

To enter the Paaliaq official website (where you can download Keepi for free), click here.

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