October 31, 2008

Gospel - The Magic Volume of Dark Matter

Gospel is the most inventive band to ever be associated with emo. Though that's a lofty claim, I think I'm off the hook because of emo's inherent narrowness, and the fact that Gospel isn't really an emo group. When they broke up in 2006, apparently they were working on the follow up to The Moon Is a Dead World. The only artifact of that creative process is the bootleg The Magic Volume of Dark Matter. It was recorded on February 2nd, 2006 and shows Gospel going deeper down the psychedelic, progged out rabbit hole they were first exploring on their debut LP. The song is 23 minutes and runs through a ridiculous number of section changes, them jamming out all the while. Though it's a rough cut and there's probably a lot of improvisation, the track is absolutely awesome and serves as a pleasant if underwhelming swan song for Gospel's too short career. Thanks to Jared from Last Train to Cool for the look on this one. Included is the bootleg and a live video of the performance.

The Magic Volume of Dark Matter [2006] - Download

Part 1

Part 2

October 30, 2008

Aussitôt Mort - Montuenga

Aussitot Mort's debut EP, Six Songs flew completely under the radar of most fans of the label's particular brand of hardcore. However, with the release of their follow up, Montuenga, Aussitot Mort are poised to do a lot more with their adventurous take on the French emo sound. The delay effects are ridiculous, the production is awesome, and the song still retain enough classic emo catharsis to make this a compelling listen. My apologies on the password. That's the only copy I've found that has all 8 songs instead of the random non-encrypted ones that decided to only include 6 of the tracks.

Montuenga [2008] - Download (pw: SirensSound.blogspot.com) - Review

Blue Sky Black Death / Jean Grae - The Evil Jeanius

Only in the past 48 hours has the genius (no pun intended) of this album really sunk in. There were two initial humps for me to get over: i) the production by Blue Sky Black Death compresses their trip hop gone post-rock style into something more mainstream and accessible and ii) Jean Grae's female voice and sedated but impassioned tone of voice. Both feel like reductions of the bombastic combo that they could be, however driving around while listening to this record, as the rain and fog has started to pile up in the Bay Area recently has taught me that this reserved and chill album is best when it's reclining and coy. The best tracks feature Jean Grae languidly laying down her lyrics while BSBD throw around a few low key guitar licks and a smooth beat. Definitely recommended.

The Evil Jeanius [2008] - Download

October 24, 2008

Mesa Verde - The Old Road

Mesa Verde's new album, The Old Road, is a notable progression from their previous release. Their two previous albums I own have been a little too derivative, standing on the shoulders of the Saetia's of the emo world without adding that much to the mix. By making their music a little more epic and brooding, while giving it a sweeter production value, they now sound like Explosions in the Sky playing emotional hardcore (except never boring). Their echoed guitar melodies and shouted vocals are more expressive and evocative as a result of this subtle but meaningful change. For me this beats out ...Who Calls So Loud's (ex-Funeral Diner, a band that nearly perfected epic, melodic emo) debut LP but doesn't have the versatility and freshness that Loma Prieta's album Last City does.

The Old Road [2008] - Download - Review

Charles Mingus - Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus

Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus is a compilation album of sorts. Mingus, probably the most famous jazz bassist of all time, compiled an album of retakes on some of his most classic tracks like "Haitian Fight Song" and gave the tracks new titles and slightly new vibes. So this album is a greatest hits album for people who hate the sterility of greatest hits. Every song has a little extra life and verve in it as a result of the newer recording session. At the very least, it's a good place to start with Mingus because of the variety and musicianship.

Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus [1963] - Download - Review

October 13, 2008

Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday

Grails' 2004 album Redlight ruled in all possible ways. Their 2007 album Burning Off Impurities did not. They shifted from being a concise post-rock band to a psychedelic jam band that tossed in Eastern instrumentation all over the place. Short of assuming Grails went on a pilgrimage to India and met Ravi Shankar, I'll just say their musical direction changed. Doomsdayer's Holiday does something to reconcile those two worlds. The Eastern influences and jamminess are no longer endless and open-ended and as a result the songs have regained organization and arc. This album comes highly recommended for fans of post-rock, classic rock, or prog looking for something very different.

Doomsdayer's Holiday [2008] - Download - Review

October 8, 2008

Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles

Though Empyrean Isles predates Hancock's most famous and true blue exploration into modal territory it captures the lighter, more delicate feel of those later classics like "Maiden Voyage" on tracks like "Oliloqui Valley" and "Cantaloupe Island." "The Egg" is a particularly interesting track. It's organized around a mercurial lead melody that moves in and out of harmonic minor sounding modes and traditional modal structures. The massive solo section is defined by huge open arrangements and long solos. The bass solo is particularly nice at complementary that drawn out and impressionistic feel. The alternate tracks are ace too. Another great album in the spirit of Maiden Voyage.

Empyrean Isles [1965] - Download