Posts tagged video
Balmorhea is an acoustic quartet from Austin (where else?) releases yet another brilliant and stunning array of surreal music. Their ’09 album “All is Wild, All is Silent” received rave reviews and “Constellations” won’t settle to just ride on its coattails; instead the group reinvigorates itself with meditations on cosmos and the metaphysical worlds beyond our mental grasp. Beautiful piano tinkling that tickles the ear drum and serenades you with a wild array of emotions.
Balmorhea – Constellations
Obviously the album title tilts the subject matter on its collective axis, wondering what is out there amid the chaos. Colorful melodies harmonize with a core of musical accolades that easily put Balmorhea among some of today’s biggest rising stars. At times you’ll find yourself almost worn thin because each track is that daunting but once you deconstruct it, your mind and ears find yourself reinvigorated to the Nth degree. It boggles my mind that this group is still somewhat of an unheard of entity in the music world. They are clearly one of most inventive, talented, and cerebral groups to come out of the Austin, Texas scene, which is like saying someone is the best Rhodes scholar.
Sometimes cinematic soundscapes can seem elemental, almost dire and borderline snoozing – this is absolutely never the case with “Constellations” which constantly engages the listener in a new fashion as each tune progresses. Daunting, brilliant, and stirring – oh and did I mention, acoustic? Jaw dropping to say the least. Just watch their live performance on KEXP during SXSW for further proof:
Or watch a short film…I mean is there anything Balmorhea can’t do? Dodge bullets comes to mind, but I think they could lull violent acts into submission!
Indie rock that’s busy bridging gaps and forging in the forest of dissonance and chaos, “Instant Everything” by Untied States (that’s not a typo English majors, thanks) is a whirlwind and cacophony of noise, both spazzy and delightful. Post-punk noise nuance is a great way to describe this Atlanta-based five-piece. Experimental jam sessions gone awry and hectic, lunging from unexpected to predictable seemingly in the same stanza of prose. I hear a lot of yesteryear Sonic Youth influences minus Kim Gordon but plus David Yow of the Jesus Lizard. Loud and abrasive guitar-centric noise machines Untied States write raw and authentic college rock anthems that are sometimes hard to follow but always pleasing to the appreciative ear.
Orange County may be the most Republican county (and rich, hmm coincidence?) in all of California, but Chaser is all about the Do-It-Yourself scene and have been a part of it since 2002. Playing their brand of melodic mall punk with a twist of alternative rock, Chaser drops fast rhythms and quick guitar pacing alongside melodic and somewhat nasal vocals. Think of No Use for a Name or other California, mid-to-late ‘90s pop-punk and you get the general gist. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I think “The Big Picture
” is more of a time filler between listening to really good albums than something I’d boast about to all of my friends about “being the first to be into this album”. There are some great guest spots that really augment the album though, namely Death By Stereo’s Dan Palmer and Authority Zero’s Jason Devore. As you might imagine you may have already seen them on the Vans Warped Tour (they played on it in ’08) or you may see them soon (they’re touring with Guttermouth in the early part of 2010) and they had some amount of national notoriety with their hit single “Numb America” that was out in 2006 with KROQ giving it a lot of spins.
Follow Chaser on Twitter.
Watch a live video of the group playing three songs and being interviewed courtesy of Flashrock:
These are the endearing stories that makes being a music reviewer that much more rewarding. Jon Troast is a paycheck-to-paycheck musician who recently completed a 100 Concerts in 100 Days tour, performing in gracious people’s living rooms. The album is a melting pot of Americana, pop-rock, folk, and indie singer/songwriter fare. Blessed with earnest lyrics with working-collar melodies, Jon Troast’s “Living Room” is a testament that struggling musicians can get by if they try hard enough, self-promote the right way, and frankly get out there and perform in front of people. Oh did I mention he doesn’t plan on charging for his shows in 2010, but just will rely on album sales alone to get by? So what are you waiting for? Help a man out and be rewarded with gift of strong songwriting and the wordplay of a true traveling minstrel.
Watch a video of Jon playing at a barn:
Polish emo? You bet, and Keira Is You is in the vein of true emo, ala The Appleseed Cast, Engine Down, and perhaps even a little Sunny Day Real Estate. “Nothing Else Will Happen” casts its net far and wide with powerfully experimental nuances like children’s choirs, elements of New Wave, cello, and synthesizers. Indie rock should be a little challenging, now shouldn’t it?
Watch this video for “Madness”:
Rotten Bark – Chillin’ Out (Teenage Love Story) Part 1
Dear unsigned bands, do NOT ever send your material, unsolicited or otherwise, requiring a signature. That will just piss off whomever is in receipt of your package. And to open it up to find a plea that they need help from people just like myself, is well, hilariously ironic. But despite the aggravation of my mailman giving me warning slip after warning slip regarding signature, I promised to listen with an open-mind. Good thing I did! Polish pop-punk that is in the vein of California sunny pop-punk you’d hear at any mall or skate park. The EP is short at only three-songs but very strong nevertheless, perhaps strong enough to even get them signed to an indie label at some point soon. The single is “Chillin’ Out (Retarded Knight)” and at sub-three minutes is perfect for the attention span deficit mall punk fans out there. The recording is spot-on, sounding extremely professional, and yes they sing in English; also their harmonies are ridiculously catchy with nice foot-stomping rhythms – pretty much everything that a great pop-punk band needs in their favor. Definitely not something incredibly new by any stretch but in this genre, does it really matter?
Listen to their cover of Blink 182’s “First Date” at YouTube. Is it really a surprise that they’d cover Blink 182 (that’s a rhetorical question for those of you sucking down the cough syrup a bit too much these days).
Blues-laden vocals retch out primitive emotions and observations of the art-punk world and its vibrant personalities on “To the Pouring Rain”, yet another superb addition to an already overwhelming catalog to small indie label Porto Franco Records. Seth Augustus sounds like a late career Tom Waits or even Leonard Cohen, straining to convey the imaginative thoughts streaming from his cortex into something even a drug-addled subconscious could piece together. The album sounds like the inspiration to half-a-dozen David Lynch flicks, sexy Americana folk with notes of early jazz and a more blues experimental Captain Beefheart. For you more modern music fans, look to a comparison of Ike Reilly with a more gravelly voiced narrative. Seth’s friendship, apprenticeship, and eventually his caretaking for the gravelly ill blind blues-man Paul Pena, noted for his superb “Big Old Jet Airliner” and the figure of an Oscar-nominated documentary, “Genghis Blues
”, is certainly felt throughout this excellent disc of fertile blues and art-pop landscape dubbed simply “To the Pouring Rain”. Outstanding and an essential pick for those looking for the next modern-day blues prophet.
Atlanta may not be best known as a haven for post-hardcore outfits, but perhaps with the self-titled EP by Lakehurst is Burning from one of my personal favorite indie labels, Reason Y Records, that could all change in a blink of an eye. Angular guitars combine with splendid melodies that brine together the best offerings of DC post-hardcore/indie rock ala Fugazi and the smart emocore (you know, what REAL emo is/was?) that so many rock musicians these days seem to have sadly forsaken for the ridiculousness of screamo and bland noise rock. The Paper Champions unfortunately fell apart after six great years in 2008, but Lakehurst is Burning, which features three out of four members of that super group, formed in its wake shortly thereafter. If you don’t know – and few that consider themselves “in the know” wouldn’t, The Paper Champions were gifted with plenty of success ranging from a prized inclusion on Deep Elm Records’ widely acclaimed “Emo Diaries” compilation series and also their “Ask Emma” was featured on MTV’s coveted Road Rules soundtrack – their ’04 debut full-length “Weekend of Compromise” being one of the early success of the aforementioned Atlanta imprint Reason Y, but it was their 4-song EP, “End. Transmission” that was their most critically acclaimed album. Sadly that band is no more, but if this self-titled debut EP shows us anything, it’s that the creative juices and intelligent songwriting that went into each passionate cut that The Paper Champions penned hasn’t been lost and indeed seems to have been fostered into something new being just as propulsive and essential. How’d they get this interesting moniker you ask? Well the band name is a reference to an air force base in Lakehurst, New Jersey where brother Jason (vocals/guitar) and Brad Neubert (drums)’s great-grandfater manned the tethers for the doomed Hindenburg zeppelin that tragically burst into flames killing 36 people. Despite the bleak band moniker, the album is a refreshing and captivating adventure of post-hardcore indie rock with gritty song structures of intriguingly paced time signatures and mature yet dark lyrics. Fascinating album that seemingly offers something new and exciting with each listen.
Watch a Live Video from their CD Release Party:
The Quin sisters explain the meaning behind the title of their new album, Sainthood, the difficulty of reproducing their increasingly electronic sound in concert, and why you won’t hear them playing “Our Trees” or “Superstar” anytime soon.