Category: 30 in 30

November 7, 2010

30 in 30: Lazersword – Lazer Sword [86/100]

By request I’m putting line breaks between track descriptions. Sorry about that.

Notes: “Tar” opens up with chiptunes aplenty, transitioning into a moody electronica sound, definitely on the experimental side, a lot going on that I wouldn’t be able to really explain but that’s typical of the genre, not bad at all though you do need to be a fan of the genre to appreciate a lot of what’s going on. If you’ve listened to Infected Mushroom or Shpongle you’re suitably prepared for what’s going on here. Good opener.

“Agrokrag” opens up very heavy on dropping the beat altogether, this one’s less the realm of Shpongle and more like a Squarepusher or Flashbulb sound. The crystal synth they chose gives them an interesting sound, the track would be less palatable without it. Nice buildup to a bridge with time-stretched handclaps. Solid ending. This one’s not quite as solid as the first track but should have its share of fans.

“Surf News” has a watery opening true to its name, and the first vocal sample I could understand. This one’s even more experimental than the last, we’re getting into some obscure stuff like Prabhamandala. These are admittedly hard to grade, but the song isn’t bad.

“I’m Gone (Feat. Turf Talk)” has a wild bass drum sound opening up the track which is the first electro-rap song on here. Soundstage is a bit cluttered, instruments are drowning the vocals in the verses. The last minute or so serves as an outro and it’s top-notch.

“Batman” has a great syncopated rhythm section, with little vocal stings and pad synths throughout. This one’s pretty different from anything I’ve heard in the genre, the rhythm gives it a hypnotic quality. If you’re the sort that prefers better living through chemistry, you’ll probably have this song … (More) “30 in 30: Lazersword – Lazer Sword [86/100]”

November 6, 2010

30 in 30: Eric Clapton – Clapton [94/100]

Notes: “Travelin’ Alone” opens up the album with a tricky little blues run and organs, Clapton’s vocals are as inspired as ever, he may even be improving with age. Maracas and bongos give character to what might be a pretty sterile Lil’ Son Jackson cover without it. High hopes for the album after this opener. Arrangement is even slightly different from standard blues (that’s a good thing). “Rockin’ Chair” is a slower affair, giving homage to the original Hoagy Carmichael version of 1929. Brushes on snare, piano and clean electric guitar. Eric’s looking a bit older on this cover art but this is more of a morbidly humorous song than your typical blues. “Old rockin’ chair’s got me / cane by my side / Fetch me my gin, son, / ‘fore I tan your hide” Simple but good song. “River Runs Deep” opens up reminiscent of an old Carlos Santana song, with touches of modern strings. This one covers JJ Cale’s “River Runs Deep”, and the tone is fascinating, if you’ve heard Santana’s stuff around the Abraxas era you’ve got a good idea what’s going on here. Electric organ, vocal harmonies, latin blues riffs, even a couple of horn stings. Long chanted ending with some reversed guitar for good measure. An early favorite on the album. “Judgement Day” opens up with a gospel-blues sound, standard blues scale and harmonica, choral opening. Call-and-response chorus, as solid a harmonica solo as I believe you can really manage with the thing. I’m thrilled to hear four totally different approaches to the blues in four songs, people that say you can’t innovate in a genre like this have never given a master like Clapton a thorough listen. “How Deep Is The Ocean” opens with acoustic guitar, upright bass and piano. This covers Irving Berlin’s … (More) “30 in 30: Eric Clapton – Clapton [94/100]”

November 5, 2010

30 in 30: 10 Years – Feeding The Wolves [84/100]

Notes: “Shoot It Out” starts out feeling much darker than their past releases, dissonance and repetition used effectively. Angrier lyrics and vocals have me quite intrigued if their sound has changed drastically. “The Wicked Ones” is downtempo rock in 4/4 that reminds me of Switchfoot more than anything, in a good way. Chorus is in double-time and pretty different from anything in their past works, and there’s a screaming aspect that wasn’t there in previous albums evident in the first two tracks. Not a bad track at all. “Now Is The Time (Ravenous)” has a more Division-esque sound than the last two, complete with betrayal theme and lyrics that are generously described as hit-and-miss. Good vocal arrangement though, interesting rhythms arranging the vocals in dotted 16th notes through the chorus. Solid melody improves the track, I’m admittedly a big fan of Division so the fact that I like this one isn’t surprising, take it with a grain of salt. Interesting to note they closed this one out with a scream too. “One More Day” has Jesse singing over clean electric and acoustic guitars, transitioning into another downtempo rock song. Interesting chord choices which they’ve done well for quite a while, with a well-done bridge, but the arrangement is far from a new one for 10 Years, I’m hoping to see some innovation in this aspect on the album, though it’s admittedly tough for a songwriter to rework the arrangement they get comfortable with. Ends with violins, interesting choice. “Fix Me” goes for a hook early with catchy melodic electric and bass guitar. This does sound quite a bit like the last track honestly. Bridge has slight tinges of electronica, then dropping everything but piano and vocals and picking back up with the works 4 bars later. Not great. “Chasing The … (More) “30 in 30: 10 Years – Feeding The Wolves [84/100]”

November 4, 2010

30 In 30: Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns [90/100]

Notes: “The Requiem” is a slow fade in, industrial sounds and echoes transition into piano and vocal harmony, then a vocoded female, “God Save Us Everyone” which I’ve heard on the single towards the end of the album. Progresses into “The Radiance”, very industrial techno sound, Oppenheimer’s “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” sample dominates the short track. Fades out, first actual song three tracks in in “Burning In The Skies”, piano, clean electric guitar, nu-metal drumkit. Provoking lyrics, “I’m swimming in the smoke / Of bridges I have burned / So don’t apologize, / I’m losing what I don’t deserve” The sound is quite clean, distances itself quite effectively from “Minutes To Midnight”, a rather tame guitar solo bridges a song that’s pretty standard of the genre with regards to arrangement. Progresses into “Empty Spaces”, wartime samples of explosions, short segue track into “When They Come For Me”, jarring industrial-distortion on the electric guitar is quite different from anything I’ve heard them do before. Congas and this buzzing guitar sound lead into a very interesting blend of tribal and industrial, M. Shinoda’s rap is on-point and really a great arrangement on a very unique track. Reminded of Nonpoint’s earlier stuff for some reason, “Bullet With A Name” is a distant cousin but I really like both. Song closes out with greater emphasis on vocal harmony, Chester’s chanting gives it a very tribal ending, gritty, focused, powerful, the song may not makes waves on Rock radio stations but it’s one of their best since Meteora. “Robot Boy” uses their usual opening of piano and nu-metal drums, but kick drums and claps slow the tempo to half-time. Chester in three-part harmony, gently swelling strings in the background transition the song into a reverb-heavy echo chamber that’s a drumkit shy … (More) “30 In 30: Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns [90/100]”

November 3, 2010

30 in 30 Club, You’re Invited

I’m going to listen to and review 30 albums, nearly all of them new releases, over the next 30 days. Each Tuesday will feature a new release from that day. I’ll warn you in advance, the selections are quite varied, this will be a challenge for someone that considers themselves only to be a fan of one genre. I think if you’re bothering to read this, you’re open-minded enough to try some bands you may have either never heard of, or never had any desire to listen to. In 30 days we will cover pop, rock, metal, R&B, rap, electronica, blues, ambient, easy listening and more. So grab your headphones and follow along on the journey. This is being posted to multiple sources, Facebook, Twitter, my personal Blog and the website. You will need some type of music streaming service to participate, if you don’t have one I recommend MOG’s unlimited streaming for $5 a month, and a free 14-day trial.

Alright, are you ready? Today’s album is Linkin Park’s fourth studio album, A Thousand Suns. Give it a listen or two today, my review will be up tomorrow and then we can share thoughts and experiences with the work. Also, if you like, my review of yesterday’s album, Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon, is also available for comment.

Date Artist Album
2nd Kings Of Leon – Come Around Sundown
3rd Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns
4th 10 Years – Feeding The Wolves
5th Eric Clapton – Clapton
6th Lazersword – Lazersword
7th Machinae Supremacy – A View From The End Of The World
8th Good Charlotte – Cardiology
9th Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager
10th Andrew Bird – Useless Creatures
11th Mumford & Sons – Sigh … (More) “30 in 30 Club, You’re Invited”