4 Quick Blasts…

There are several bands that I have come across in the last week, and besides a few other go to albums I can’t get enough of, these are the bands I’ve been listening to. It’s Sunday, and I don’t want to take up to much of your time, but here are 4 Quick Blasts (hence, the clever title) for you to dig in to. Click on the band name and you will be directed to their music.

The ComputersThis is The Computers

This is a solid album, which is the debut full length from these Exeter, UK lads. Simply put (much like the bands sound), this is a fun record that successfully fuses hardcore punk with a garage rock quality and style. In the end, this is a no frills, in your face punk record that should be enjoyed with your stereo on full blast.

HexesWhite Noise / Black Sound

This is a very interesting album, and it comes courtesy of a few angry Brits. It is difficult to pin them down to a specific genre/sound, because while it stays consistent, it does incorporate several elements. The guitars are loud and tight and the drumming isn’t all over the place, yet it still has a metallic vibe. There are electronic elements and synth lines that give the music another layer as well as another sense of melody. Then, from the moment you hear the vocals, you will a) know they are English, b) have to acquire the taste of Daniel P. Carter’s screaming, and c) probably be completely hooked like I was. The album came out in 2009, but from what I’ve read they are working on new material, so stay tuned if you dig this album.

None More BlackIcons

I am not usually one for punk bands, or at least modern “punk”; it always tends to sound way to happy for me, as I live on music that puts out a darker vibe. But, after coming across None More Black on a recent music search, I have found a band that does it well. Icons came out in 2010 on Fat Wreck Chords, and is the perfect blend of modern punk and hard rock. I also love the guitar work, as it combines a punk sensibility with solid rock riffs, helping the tracks standout. The vocals don’t know whether they want to be screamed or sung, which lends to the overall sound of the band and gives it a nice edge. And, with a name that pays tribute to Spinal Tap, you can’t go wrong!

This Time It’s WarTerror Plots

This one is for the metalheads out there, who are sick and tired of the overwhelmingly boring and stale technical metal scene. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE metal, but I’m just over the current scene (8 string guitars, PERFECT recordings, image over substance, etc.). Enter This Time It’s War and their self released 2010 album, Terror Plots. It does modern technical metal without sounding overproduced and devoid of emotion, refreshing your stance on the scene in the process. Great screams and clean vocals, great guitar work and drums that keep everything moving in a frenetic yet comforting way. Once you’re done consuming this album, click on the link above to check out their newly released Rusted Screws EP. It can be found as a ‘name your price’ option on their BandCamp page.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and if there is anything you’re listening to, make it known in the comments section and I’ll check it out!

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The Return of American Head Charge

This is HUGE news for me. American Head Charge is one of my favorite bands of all time, and I have always hoped that one day they would make their triumphant return. Well, here we are; the Minneapolis metal visionaries, have come back.

I actually have very fond, detailed memories of my first encounters with this band, as I do with most bands that helped shape me as a music listener and musician. I had heard their very first single (from TWoA), Reach and Touch, on the Ozzfest 2001 Summer Sampler. It was the very last track on the compilation, and I listened to it over and over…and over and over. Now, this was back when music was more difficult to discover, so comps like this were gold. Then, one night while venturing home from a fall league high school hockey game, I stopped into Best Buy to see what I could find. There it was, emblazened in its glory with that tank barreling towards me, much like the music would from the very first track. A Violent Reaction tore my face off, and they didn’t let up until the album closer, Nothing Gets Nothing, concluded… then I listened to it again! The War of Art was, and is, unlike anything that was out at the time, at least from my perspective, and it blew me away and it still does. I still own that very copy, although it’s now been transferred to mp3 and enjoyed from my iPod.

In 2001, me and several great friends caught them as the opening act for Slipknot, System of a Down, Rammstein, and No One on the Pledge of Allegiance tour in Detroit at Cobo Arena. It was my first concert of this magnitude, and it was about as intense as it sounds like it would be for a 17 year old. These were the premier bands of the day in the nu-metal movement, and all except one (No One) went on to produce multiple, successful follow up albums. AHC was crazy on stage, and there were hardly any people there to see them play (except for the guy in the pit with a mouthguard in; we knew he meant business and to stay away), but knowing the album I was singing along to every song when most people were thinking, “when is Slipknot coming out?”. So, now I have this amazing album that is in my opinion, ahead of its time, followed with an amazing live set; I was hooked.

A few years go by, and they release their 2nd album, The Feeding. Another great album, and having gone through a few line up changes in the interim, the album is a change of pace in terms of sound, but nonetheless, as aggressive as the debut. It just came off a little more polished and I could tell the songwriting had improved. All in all, great album. I remember picking it up with my buddy Adam, mainly because we thought the new Hed PE album was out. We went to Best Buy looking for Only in Amerika, only to realize we were a few weeks early (how did we LIVE before the internet was so prevalent???), and ended up picking up the new AHC release. We jammed to it all the way home, and loved it. Both commenting on the maturity of the sound. That was the last ‘new’ material we would hear from them for years.

My best friend Adam and myself would periodically discuss our hopes that they would record a new album or at least put SOMETHING out. But, after founding guitarist Bryan Ottoson died as the result of an accidental overdose on prescitpion drugs in 2005, we started to lose that hope. Then, vocalist Cameron Heacock left the band in 2009, which they contributed to “inability to continue on a musical career path”. The group was in the process of looking for a new singer, when they decided to call it quits. AHC was dead, with so much potential still untapped.

But, they’ve reconciled and are back together with a handful of the original members (some original members were gone after TWoA, and did not record on The Feeding). They are on a 10 date tour starting tonight, Oct. 20th 2011.

In a musical climate in which the majority of metal and heavy music is starting to blend together and sound the same again (it happens every couple of years), the return of American Head Charge still feels as refreshing as it was the first time I heard them. In my opinion, they were ahead of the game in the early 2000’s, and they unfortunately got lumped into the much maligned nu-metal genre when it was reaching its peak. As hated on as it is, that era of heavy music changed my life, and I would not be the music junkie I am today without that scene, hell, I might not even be PLAYING music if not for the passion I took from those bands.

Every one has their old records they like to put on to bring back the memories of their youth, be it Zeppelin or The Beatles. The Stones or The Who. That’s all well and good, but give me my old nu-metal records and I’ll wax nostalgic on the records and bands that changed MY life. American Head Charge is one of those bands, and to have them back touring and making music is a day I have waited years for.

American Head Charge is back. Nothing more needs to be said. Enjoy what’s to come! Welcome back…

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MuteMath//Odd Soul

So, MuteMath came out with a new album, and I was completely oblivious to it. Which, actually has me enjoying this album even more, because I had no lead up to it all. I sampled a few tracks on iTunes when I came across it, watched the video for Blood Pressure, and knew I needed to have it. My wife won’t be to pleased that I’ve bought another record when she checks the account, but this album rips and it’s exactly what I needed to hear.

First, back to my previous point about having no lead up to this album prior to its release. I love that I had no idea it was out and that I hadn’t heard a single track or read any pre-release reviews. This brings me back to the old days (yes, I’m only 26) when I would buy a new album with no preconceived notion of what it was going to sound like. Now, we get free album streams days before the release and even before THAT, we get 3 or 4 songs to hear well in advance of the release. As a result, the music doesn’t feel as fresh when we get our hands on it because we have already had our first experience with it, thus after a few rotations (or whatever an mp3 does) we quickly move on to the next band/album/song. But, not this time, not with this album. It is ALL new to me, and I get to truly experience it.

Their most recent release, 2009’s Armistice, was no doubt a great release in my mind. However, it was a little slow and wide open, but they do it well and are known for that atmospheric presence. It’s how I got into them, after all. But, I’ve always thought that if they could get a little bit more of an edge they would skyrocket right to the top of my favorite bands list. With Odd Soul, they have done just that.

Odd Soul is a very appropriate title for this 13 track collection. It has a bluesy/soul vibe that, being from New Orleans, comes naturally. But, it is done in an “odd” way, meaning it isn’t your traditional soul record, but an album that finds the band defining the genre with their own vocabulary. Each track has a bounce that will get your head bobbing, while still possessing that MuteMath sound. Paul Meany’s vocals are so damn catchy and flawless, navigating through beautiful harmonies along the way. The drums pulse with chaotic consistency, per usual with Darren King, and the guitars crunch like no MuteMath album I have heard. Rolling synths, organs, and many atmospheric elements abound to make this release a must have for not only long time fans of the band, but newcomers who are interested in a fresh, yet familiar and fun record.

 

I might post a little more of a track by track breakdown as I get a few more listens in, but for now, just check it out for yourself. I think you’ll dig it!

Check out the video for Blood Pressure. As always, its a very interesting concept!

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Middle Class Rut // No Name No Color

Sometimes, you find exactly what you need. Sometimes, you don’t realize what you’ve found until it shuffles through your iPhone on the way home from work. When “New Low” came blaring through my speakers tonight, I knew that it was Middle Class Rut, an alternative Sacramento, CA based duo consisting of Zack Lopez on guitar/vocals and Sean Stockham on drums/vocals. What I did not realize during previous listens, was how amazing this record was.

 

No Name No Color is the bands debut full length, and it came out in 2010. It made its way to my ears just a few months back, but it got pushed to the back burner. I found myself enjoying the sound and style of the album, but I kept waiting for something to happen. I suppose that in the height of my progressive metal listenings, this wouldn’t really be the album I was trying to found. However, after getting somewhat burned out on the overproduced riffs that are modern metal, I needed to clear my palette. I’ve always loved the post-punk/post-hardcore genre. In fact, that would probably be my favorite of all genres, mainly because of the energy and emotion you hear laced within the comparatively unpolished tracks. Case in point, Middle Class Rut.

 

This album is dirty. Its raw, yet it sparkles in a way that a lot of albums in the genre don’t. It has a quality to it that you can’t turn away from, because its lyrical content and overall vibe fits within the context of the everyman. Lopez plays the guitar with a passionate precision that is unrivaled, and you can feel it. His heavy use of effects gives him a heavy, darkly textured tone that provides Stockham’s drums the perfect musical bed to pulsate on. Add to this Lopez’s searing vocals with the backgrounds provided by Stockham, and you have yourself a marvelous debut full length.

 

As I found out, while ‘waiting for something to happen’, I failed to realize that it WAS happening. This album is perfect in its simplicity, and it doesn’t need to be anything else. Its a real album. We don’t see that enough anymore, so I say thanks and I am grateful that we have bands that play with this kind of heart.

Here is USA, from their debut album, No Name No Color.

 

 

 

 

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I’m Back… And here’s a new band for ya.

Well, it’s been a while. For one reason or another, I have neglected to write about the music I listen to. I have discovered many a new band as well as the new releases from bands that I’ve loved for a long time. I just haven’t written about them, so I apologize for the lull. I plan to start writing more to show you all what I have been able to pull from the musical soil.

 

I just found this band the other day while floating through last.fm. If you know anything about my musical tastes, I tend to gravitate towards the interesting, to say the least. I enjoy being surprised by a song and the turns it takes while coming to a completion. The band Kiss Kiss does this for me, and their most release, The Meek Shall Inherit What’s Left, is quite a work of art. Vocally, it reminds me of what I always want Geoff Rickly from Thursday to sound like if he were really release his voice. Musically, it has that avant-garde feel without being to incomprehensible.

 

This album came out in 2009, and even after some extensive research, I am not sure if they are still a band. I do know there was a side project that was created, but I wouldn’t rule out any future tunes from Kiss Kiss. At least, I hope not.

 

Enjoy the video for the song, All They Draw.

 

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3/29/2011

Just a quick update to focus your attention on 3 releases that I am looking forward to on the 29th of March…

Becoming the ArchetypeCelestial Completion

EmeryWe Do What We Want

ObscuraOmnivium

 

These should be SOLID releases. Enjoy!

The Haunted//Unseen

This is what I will call a “mid-listen” review of Unseen, by The Haunted. I heard varying reports on what this album was going to be months before its release. Most commentary airing on the side of ‘not worth it’. But, I must say, amidst contrasting reviews, I am really falling in love with this album. The very first song I heard by The Haunted was ’99’, from the rEVOLVEr album. I thought it was one of the best songs I had ever heard and I remember vividly blasting it through my truck speakers during my college years. I have listened to Sweden’s The Haunted ever since.

 

This album is, well, for lack of a better term, different. It is not The Haunted of years back; gone are the speedy riffs and aggressive screaming. I would be lying if I said I did not want to hear more of that, but this album treads upon ground that they haven’t yet walked through. I am someone who likes to see groups evolve and experiment, even though there are times where this fails and I end up wishing they would “get back to their roots”. Vocalist Peter Dolving had a controversial re-entry into the band when they recorded the rEVOLVEr album, but I love what he has done in the band. But, he is all I have ever known for the band. They let him experiment with his vocals this time around, and I think its working out great.

 

There are more layers within Unseen than with previous recordings, and even after a one time listen I can tell that this album is going to produce surprises down the road. It is interesting, and its definitely a ‘grower’, but I can’t get enough. I can say I didnt know what to expect from this record, and the single they released didnt really get me to pumped for the release. But now that I have the full album to play through, I know that in the context of the album, each song works perfectly.

 

Check this one out, I think you’ll dig it. My stand out tracks are The Skull, Them, and Never Better.

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SeeS//TheenD

Connecticut based SeeS have released their debut album, TheenD, for FREE! The download is available here. This album is amazing. Trust me. Djenty riffs and brutal screams amidst soaring clean vocals. Why have you not already clicked the link to start downloading?! Enjoy.

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Born of Osiris//Album Preview

Born of Osiris have posted clips of each song off their upcoming release, The Discovery, on their Facebook page. The record will be released on March 22nd, 2011 via Sumerian Records and from the sounds of the clips, this album is going to spectacular. It can also be mentioned, that as of the bands last release, I was not really to big of a fan, for whatever reasons. Upon reviewing the clips, the album should show a sense of maturity in the realm of songwriting and skill.

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Across the Sun//Studio Video

The kind folks at Revolver have posted a new video of Across the Sun in the studio recording their full length as Lambesis Studios. Before the Night Takes Us will be released on March 22nd, 2011 via Metal Blade Records. You can preorder the album on iTunes now!

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