Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Super Luxury- Ten Solid Years of Applause (2015)

Ten Solid Years of Applause
This album was the first noise rock album of 2015 I gave a serious listen to and I suggest you take the time to check it out too.  Leeds based Super Luxury are a noise rock band featuring two of the guys in Cattle.  As Chris from the band told me, the band is more influenced by Fugazi than his other band (no surprise given that one song is titled "Ian Mackaye made so much money out of Fugazi that he lives in a solid gold house and drives a solid gold car and he sits on his driveway but he can't go anywhere because the wheels are made of solid gold"), proving this still is a genre that enjoys tongue-in-cheek song titles.

This album has a little bit for everybody on it.  Fans of bands like Dope Body will enjoy the more upbeat rock tracks like "Constant Delicious" and "Salem Tears", while the track "Drunk on Power" probably sounds most like Fugazi to me.

While this band may not have that funky bass I felt buried in Cattle's EP, they have traded that out for a tight, high quality release that makes 2015 all the more promising.

Stream a few tracks Here, where you can purchase the album as well.

2015 Update

Now that I am finally done with my 2014 countdown, I can begin looking ahead at 2015.  Already we have some great albums out that I want to begin to review.  Even more exciting though, Procurement Records will be releasing 50 copies of White Spot-Father Songs on cassette in early April.  The guy sent me the album to review and I asked if instead I could release it...couple months later and here we are.  If you come to the blog with any frequency, please take the time to at least stream it and give it a listen.

So long as this does decent enough to cover my costs of publishing it, Procurement Records will do its best to continue releasing physical copies of noise rock we love. 

That said, go pre-order a copy now.  All profits on new releases by Procurement Records will go to the artist and they retain the rights to their music; what other label can say that?


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top 50 albums of 2014: 10-1

Top albums of 2014

Tomorrow's Hits
10) The Men- Tomorrow's Hits

Tomorrow's hits really are anything but that.  Rather, The Men again change their sound, this time going for a throwback to classic rock reminiscent of great artist like Credence Clearwater Revival.  Like most hit songs form that time period, the song lengths are a little longer than now on the radio, with tracks averaging a little over 4.5 minutes in length.

What makes this album great to me though, is that while it is holds a throwback sound, it never feels pretentious or comes off as though 'this style is so much superior to modern music'.  Rather, the sound feels natural to the band as though they almost stumbled upon it and went with it.  this feeling is most present in the song "Get What You Give" where the laxical approach of the band is ever-present.

My favorite tracks on this album were "Another night" and "Different Days", though "Pearly Gate" is a pretty stellar track too.  Really, this album all-around and I highly suggest you give it a listen while sitting on a porch and throwing back a few beers with old college friends.

Stream the track "Pearly Gate" Here.

Violent Shiver
9) Benjamin Booker- Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker blends a slightly southern rock with the modern blues sound popularized by the Black Keys.  His Self-Titled debut goes so high up on my list though because of his ability to write great songs that I enjoy, yet can also play in front of someone like my grandmother without being embarrassed; something that is overally kind of rare in much of the music in my Top 50.

After hearing this album for the first time, my immediate thought was how is this not tearing up the radio charts.  Even as I am listening to it now and writing this, I continue to tell myself that this guy will be a household name within 10 years.  And that is something that I hope is true, because if he can keep as consistent of a sound as is present on this album, then that will at least mean I will get a few more great albums to listen to.

If you are someone who actually reads what I write, then take some time to hunt down a copy of this album so you have something good to put on the next time you have someone over who really doesn't listen to that much music.

Stream the track "Violent Shiver" Here.

Abandoned City
8) Hauschka- Abandoned City

I first found Hauschka when I was looking up people using prepared pianos a few years back.  If you don't know what that is, watch this older video of him setting up and playing a prepared piano Here. 

While I try not to fall too hard for gimmicks, the prepared piano has always been one I have loved.  Once you realize that this album is just one guy soloing a very unique piano, each sound constantly brings to question how Hauschka is achieving it; is it by placing marbles on the strings? a playing card? did he drop tune a lower note? add something heavier to the hammer?  These are the questions that play through my head throughout each listen.

While all these questions are well and good, they really wouldn't matter if the album was crap.  Fortunately, regardless of how the album was created, the album still has a lot going for it.  Tracks like "Thames Town" are lush and vivid, with a huge sound.  Even more so given that Hauschka is just one guy.

Stream the track "Elizabeth Bay" Here.

Bon Voyage
7)Sport- Bon Voyage

For someone who listened to very little pop-punk or emo in high school, SPORT definitely have a way of giving me nostalgic feelings towards my youth.  

While this album may never have a really unique sound, the singer fits their sound perfect, and there are no songs that feel out of place.  0 filler here.

If you are a fan of either of the genres in their current state, then give this a try.  Highly recommended to fans of Glocca Mora or Spraynard.

Stream, Download, or purchase the album.  All possible Here

6) Bill Orcutt- VDSQ Solo Acoustic Volume Ten

Bill Orcutt's playing on this album is simply magical to me.  I have been a big fan of his stuff for a while now, but this album may be my favorite.  Right form the start of "O Platitides!" I find the sound to have a much better pacing than his previous works, including the great 2013 A History of Everyone.  Many of the songs balance an airy, spacial sound with his famous 'hit every note at once' sound.

Over these six tracks, there are moments taken and repeated.  On "An Inadvertent Epic" a brief high twang comes into play that can be found in numerous other tracks, every time in the same style with the same emotion behind it.  Some may argue this is just a further example that every Orcutt track is the same (I have heard this argument).  I, however, think it is moments like this throughout the album that makes it feel so cohesive.

If you are one of those people that hears this music and immediately says "anyone could do that", well please point me to similar music that comes close to evoking such a response that I get from this, because I have yet to find any other guitar soloist coming even close to how good this sounds.

Stream the track "History and Repetition" Here.

5) Gordon Ashworth- S.T.L.A
I bought this on a whim after hearing good things.  What a fantastic purchase.  This album does a fantastic job of overlaying flowing synthetic hums with acoustics.  This album has a way of putting me at peace.

There are some albums that I have a very hard time writing about.  usually it is albums like these, simply because they are so intoxicating that it is hard to find the correct words to explain the sound.

Listen to a track from the album Here.
World Champions of Male Chastity
4) Cowards- World Champions in Male Chastity

It is a shame this band died before I had ever even heard them.  World Champions in Male Chastity, their debut album, is sadly a collection of recordings over the course of their existence (from my understanding anyway).  Over the twelve tracks on this album the band dabbles with a few different styles of noise rock, from a female-fronted, Yeah Yeah Yeah's style to a more straight forward male vocalist noise rock approach.  

Overall World Champions of Male Chastity is surprisingly tame given the album title, but that is not to say the album is not fantastic.  Every track stands out and no moment feels out of place.  If you like a straight forward noise rock that has balls but is never pretentious, this is the album for you.

Stream the album Here, and feel free to read my previous review in our Top 10 Noise Rock Albums of 2014.

Interrupted Forms
3) Aquarelle- Interrupted Forms

A well done electro-acoustic album tends to be hard to come by.  This is one of them.  Between the warmth of the static hiss and the slow strum of major notes, Aquarelle creates an atmosphere that conjures images of warm fireplaces and late night ramblings with old friends.  During the summer I found this album to be good, but as it has gotten cold Interrupted Forms has become an even more personal, provocative listen.

I have already praised the album once, so if you need a more in-depth review, go Here.
While you read it, take the time to stream/ purchase it Here.

Life Under the Art Flag
2) Pete Swanson- Life Under The Art Flag

If at the beginning of 2014 you would have told me a live album would be my number 2 album of the year, I would not have believed you.  But Life Under the Art Flag, is something else.  For those who know Pete Swanson's solo stuff, this may be tied with Man With Potential for my favorite album of his.  For those who don't know Pete Swanson, immediately go hunt down Man With Potential.  

On each of the two, thirty minute live sets on this cassette, Mr Swanson creates repetitious techno which slowly devolves into overdriven static.  The end result being a truly unique listen that is somewhere between the worlds scariest rave and the most high octane noise set imaginable.

Best Cassette Release of 2014.  Best Live Album of 2014.

1) White Suns-Totem

First off, I am super biased towards White Suns.  Extremely harsh, borderline noise, noise rock is my favorite genre.  I mean, after AIDS Wolf left us, I emailed them about some of their old gear to try and purchase it (they never got back to me sadly, though I did email a little late).  Also, chatting with two of them at their show they seemed like real down-to-earth dudes; and playing a free show for only a handful of people while touring probably makes it hard to be so laid back.

That said, White Suns killed it this year with this release.  I already wrote about the release in our Top 10 Noise Rock Albums of 2014. Probably don't have too much more to say, except that I am ready for their next album, and would put out a 50 cassette release for them anytime they ever asked.

Do yourself a favor, prepare yourself in advance for a tense, unrelenting journey and put this album on pronto.  Stream and buy Here.