May 30, 2009

Spires - Flowers and Fireworks

These guys sound sort of like Mesa Verde, which means this fairly impressive LP is sitting in the shadow of The Old Road. Their differentiating point is that they much prefer working with harmonic minor and trying to sound slightly evil and menacing among all of the epic builds rather than sweet and wistful. They really aren't that original but bring solid music nonetheless.

Flowers and Fireworks [2009] - Download - Review

Phoenix - "1901 (Customised by DLID)"

I've been avoiding posting straight mp3s or just regurgitating remixes made on the internet, but I'm thinking about opening up Worship and Tribute MEDIA to all different formats, rather than just full albums and sputnikmusic reviews. It's essentially because this remix of Phoenix's "1901" needs to be shared with the world. Ironically, this song has been over-remixed by every clown with Ableton Live into techno versions, crunk versions, etc. This version chooses a simple, fuzzy TV on the Radio-inspired beat and tosses soft electronic harmonizations into the mix and lets the vocal performance take over from there. It's nicely understated, but completely bouncy and life-affirming in the way all remixes of pop tracks should be.


I'm going to try to update this late with a streaming version in the browser window. If anybody has any hosting suggestions I'd love to hear them. I'm only really familiar with imeem and lala, which both have limitations.

Angelo Badalamenti - Music From Twin Peaks

It's hard to talk about the excellence of this soundtrack without getting into the excellence of the show, so my first recommendation is to just watch Twin Peaks for free online. One of the show's aesthetic drivers is that its satirizing the melodrama and backstabbing that exists in soap operas. The show knowingly has stilted dialogue and character relationship, there's always a mystery to solve or a love affair driving irrational behavior, and the show is even filmed with those daytime TV cameras that make everything look really flat. The music perfectly complements that visual and narrative motif. The music is either sweeping and grandiose, employing strings and even a harp, or mysterious and coy, using sultry horns and lounge jazz drums. However, as in the show, there is a lot more complexity to the music than what initially meets the ear. It's not geared towards just lampooning, but also aims to craft serious art and complex thematic construction. Angelo Badalamenti has worked with Lynch before in a similar fashion on other soundtracks like Blue Velvet so if you've enjoyed the music other Lynch movies, this should be right up your alley.

Music from Twin Peaks [1990] - Download Part 1 Part 2 - Review

May 28, 2009

Brainworms II: Swear to Me

Brainworms, a favorite of Zen and the Art of Face-Punching, are apparently one of those bands that lose a lot of their verve when recorded. Their live show (which I am not privileged enough to have witnessed) is their identity and despite a really enjoyable release in What Is Worse?, I feel like something is potentially missing. There is also something missing from Swear to Me in that despite being pretty equivalently good to their previous efforts, it suffers from being just that: similar. Brainworms play post-hardcore that is infused with a little more punk energy and slightly acerbic emo take on production and vocal delivery (thought not melodramatic). They're sort of like Comadre, but instead of sounding like skinny 20-somethings, they sound like they look: burly and with beards. Swear to Me is a great album but is not offering anything new to develop Brainworms' signature sound.

Brainworms II: Swear to Me [2009] - Download - Review

May 27, 2009

Maudlin of the Well - Part the Second

Maudlin of the Well released three now-legendary LPs from 1999-2001 that blended death metal, free jazz, and progressive in a varied and beautiful way that had only been hinted at by bands from the early 90s like Cynic. Toby Driver, leader of Maudlin of the Well, decided to fold Maudlin of the Well and create Kayo Dot, a band that used MotW's innovations as a starting point to explore even more seamless avant garde combinations of the aforementioned genres. In the process, Driver had to shelve a few significant but unfinished song ideas that he has recently recorded thanks to generous donations from his most loyal fans. The resulting recording, Part the Second definitely feels like the "next step" after 2001's Leaving Your Body Map, but really integrates ideas from throughout Driver's career and even some unexpected influences. Part the Second is a beautiful and intelligent album, with maybe only a few acoustic tracks missing for the sake of sating an old Maudlin of the Well fan's nostalgia for a verbatim revisiting of ideas on the three previous LPs. Regardless, make sure you experience Toby Driver past, present, and future.

Part the Second [2009] - Free Download - Review

May 25, 2009

De la Soul - Are You In?

De la Soul has always been one of my favorite hip hop groups, which is why I was surprised that Are You In? totally slipped under my radar. This album has been positioned as a one-off foray into more electronic or dance-oriented music. The backing retains De la Soul's good taste but strips it of its brassy funk feel in favor of sometimes inorganic electronic production. Complementing that is De la Soul expanding their vocal and lyrical quipping to include weird repeated phrasings, which I guess is meant to emulate repetitive dance hooks. This album is an enjoyable release but can't touch classics like Stakes Is High or The Grind Date due to the formatting and willful genre experimentation.

Are You In? [2009] - Download - Review