Friday, January 30, 2015

I Fight Dragons - "The Near Future"

I Fight Dragons - The Near Future
2014, Independent

1. The Near Future I - Prelude
2. The Near Future II - Eighteen
3. The Near Future III - Battle
4. The Near Future IV - Another Week
5. The Near Future V - Meeting
6. The Near Future VI - Rescue
7. The Near Future VII - Time to Fly
8. The Near Future VIII - Requiem
9. The Near Future IX - Return
10. The Near Future X - Fighting On
11. No Strings
12. Pretend
13. Chicago
14. Always
15. Jimmy and Sally

I found out about I Fight Dragons through a You Tuber, The Rock Critic. Their a pop-punk band that mixes a lot of chip tunes into their music. You might think this would be annoying, but you are wrong. Mostly because the band always balances the chip tunes out with great melodies and hooks. I was sold on "Eighteen" alone. It's an amazing song. The lyrics perfectly capture what it was like young like that. I would go so far as to say it stands up there with Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" in terms of perfectly capturing the angst of that age. The rest of the album is filled with catchy songs with great layered harmonies that kind of remind me of The Mustard Seeds at times. Also, the lyrics are really good - very well thought out and poignant. The first half of the album is a concept about a kid who gets superpowers, the second half is stand alone songs.

Useless Fact: As of right now there is no actual hard copy CD - only vinyl. Oh... the tragedy! What will I put in the vault?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Marmozets - "The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets"

Marmozets - The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets
2014, Roadrunner

1. Born Young and Free
2. Why Do You Hate Me?
3. Captivate You
4. Is It Horrible
5. Cover Up
6. Particle
7. Cry
8. Weird and Wonderful
9. Vibetech
10. Love You Good
11. Hit the Wave
12. Move, Shake, Hide
13. Back To You

A female-fronted alternative rock band has a tough row to hoe these days. Mainly because they are a dime a dozen. They are everywhere. It takes a lot for a band to differentiate itself from all the others out there. Marmozets does just that. They are another of my You Tube finds - "Move, Shake, Hide" was the song. It was so raw and chaotic, then balanced out on the chorus with a little Paramore-esque melody. Don't mistake me though, Marmozets has little in common with Paramore. The guitar work is way too technical. They've got some crazy time signatures and little riffs and fills that reminded me a little of Silent Earth-era Coheed and Cambria. Vocalst Becca MacIntyre has taken up some of that intensity that Lacey Sturm had in the early days of Flyleaf. Though Ms. MacIntyre goes right off the edge and it's so cool. Definitely looking forward to what this band does in the future.

Useless Fact: This band is British. They've been together since 2007. I honestly don't know that much about them.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Freak Kitchen - "Cooking With Pagans"

Freak Kitchen - Cooking With Pagans
2014, Laser's Edge

1. Professional Help
2. Freak of the Week
3. Sloppy
4. Goody Goody
5. (Saving Up For An) Anal Bleach
6. Private Property
7. Mathematics of Defeat
8. I Don't Want To Golf
9. Hide
10. Comeback to Come Back
11. Ranks of the Terrified
12. Once Upon a Time in Scandinaviastan

Here's the weird thing about Cooking With Pagans - I'm kind of disappointed with it, but there's technically nothing wrong with it. The guitar work and vocals are stellar. The songs are good. I really like "Mathematics of Defeat" and "Hide." However, I feel like I'd pretty much digested everything this album had to offer in a few listens. It felt light... like there's not enough meat on the chicken bone. I'm not sure what the deal is. It's probably me. Kudos to them for having one of the weirdest song titles I've heard: "(Saving Up For An) Anal Bleach."

Useless Fact: There's a video for "Freak of the Week" that has some stunning animation in it. You should go watch it immediately.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tourniquet/Ted Kirkpatrick - "Onward to Freedom"

Tourniquet/Ted Kirkpatrick - Onward To Freedom
2014, Pathogenic

1. Onward to Freedom Prelude
2. Onward to Freedom
3. The Slave Ring
4. The Noble Case For Mercy
5. Let the Wild Just Be Wild
6. No Soul
7. If I Had To Do the Killing
8. Virtual Embryo
9. Stereotaxic Atrocities
10. Animal Crossing at the Rainbow Bridge
11. Drowning in Air
12. Cage 23

Oh gosh... I'm almost hesitant to write this review. Why? Because Onward to Freedom just doesn't sit well with me. I can't tell if it's the rather overt and insistent vegan message or the fact that it seems like the songs just don't come together for me. Granted, the last Tourniquet disc took a few spins to really register but so far this one hasn't. It's sort of a mash-up of a Ted Kirkpatrick solo album and Tourniquet. Thankfully, it's not six minutes of an ape bellowing over doom metal chords. No, it's more in line with an actual Tourniquet release except it's got a lot of guest vocalists. These (the guest vocalists) were actually pretty enjoyable. It's always good to hear Dug Pinnick sing no matter the subject matter. Michael Sweet also turns in a fine performance. I'm not sure who Gabbie Rae is but her voice is melodic and sweet and very enjoyable.

Though... I don't know... it's not really progressive enough to be a real Tourniquet record. That's okay, by the way. But the fact that after several spins I still wasn't really captivated by any particular tune on here is very disappointing. I loved Antiseptic Bloodbath but Onward just... I don't know...

And about that message. I'm all for more compassion toward animals and what not. My family tends toward free range organic whatever. However, I get the distinct impression that if you found yourself lost in the woods and had to feed off the land, Mr. Kirkpatrick would just rather you go ahead and die instead of harming an innocent chipmunk or something. Should we just... like... never have anything to do with animals ever? That's kind of the vibe I get here. I guess that's my issue, I just get irritated when I listen to this and it gets in the way of the music... and the music didn't wow me enough to get me to listen more.

Useless Fact: This album used to be referred to as The Tourniquet Ark project. Then it was just Tourniquet. they had a really cool Noah's Ark cover for it until they changed it. The new cover was a big fat rhino running out of a tunnel. I'm glad they added the raven cover because I like that a lot better.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jupiter VI - "mOVEABLE wALLS"

2014, Roxx Productions

1. Sleepless End Pts. I - IV
2. Wasting Away
3. Running
4. A Face in the Sky
5. A Message From Home, Pt. I

Let's talk about Shovel Knight for a minute shall we? For those who don't know Shovel Knight is a video game - specifically a side scrolling platformer in the mold of an old 8-bit Nintendo game. It takes a lot of its design from games like Mega Man, Castlevania, and Super Mario Bros 3. The game wears its influences on its sleeve. It's quite obvious. But... man... is it a fantastic and fun game. It's got all the charm of the retro platformer (cool sprite graphics, addictive gameplay) without any of the punishing characteristics of some of those old tyme games.

I think Shovel Knight and mOVEABLE wALLS have a lot in common in that it's quite easy to see where the inspiration for each came from. This particular album has all the makings of Pink Floyd, specifically, Wish You Were Here - wherein three shorter tracts are sandwiched between two epics. From the opening thunderstorm crash and guitar swells you just know that Jimmy P. Brown is doing his best Floyd impression. Here's the thing though, while this album is obviously an attempt at Floyd... it's so good. The melodies are haunting. The guitar work is stellar. And even though these are longer, more progressive songs they always keep their focus and are never boring. Heck, I can't even say that for Pink Floyd! You can tell that Jimmy really put his heart into this record. Who knew he had this kind of... soul? Seriously, there is some soulful stuff on here. I have quite enjoyed Jimmy's foray into the world of progressive rock and if he chose to stay there for awhile it would not bother me a bit.

So I'm gonna go ahead and recommend you pick up mOVEABLE wALLS... also Shovel Knight. You should buy that too. Listen to Jupiter VI while you play the game and I guarantee you will have spent your time well.

Useless Fact: I think Jimmy actually completed a second Jupiter VI album called A Message From Home, Pt. 1 and even turned it in to Retroactive Records for release but they never put it out. I have no idea why. This album also has a special edition with an extra CD with some bonus tracks and cover tunes.