Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blitz Review: Illustrations - In Vain

I've been told I think about the past too much. I admit, it's hard for me to cope with the present when the past seems so much better and easier, but there's more to it than that. There's comfort in the familiarity of the past, and the unknown of the future is laced with too much uncertainty. With Illustrations album, In Vain, I found myself transported back to a time when hardcore music was as simple as my life was.

Illustrations play an old school style of hardcore here, which is where this whole nostalgic blabber came from in the first place. It's so free and easy, uncomplicated in it's desire to rock your face that it also feels refreshing because of it. "Never Feeling", which has the occasional grindcore drum riff, trudges along with a great energy that will make you want to mosh at your desk at work (I recommend you consult your co-workers before doing windmills and the like there). "Always Losing" and "In Shambles" sound a little more hardcore-punk than straight up hardcore, which is always nice since I like the occasional circle pit instead of the head hunting kinds. 

"Take My Body Away" and "Endless Sleep" are more Illustrations bread and butter it seems, displaying great craft in their hardcore song making. They never feel boring, or similar, and for a genre like hardcore when things can go from good to bad in a nano-second, that's ridiculously impressive. Even a song like "Die Young", which scared me in the beginning because of the emo sounding guitar riff, saves itself by it's inability to flounder even when things start of iffy. The song stays strong despite the tiny blip, and that's a testament to how amazing an act like Illustrations are. 

I wish I had written a longer review of this album, but I don't think I really needed to. It would have been a constant barrage of 'Oooohs' and 'Ahhhhs' by me, and that can be annoying when all a reviewer does is gush about how much they love a band, instead of focusing on what's really important. In Vain by Illustrations might be my favorite thing I've reviewed on my blog so far, and that's because of how amazing the band is, not the nostalgic feeling they gave me. - Shane

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Skirts - S/T

I never liked playing 'Follow The Leader'. I've always been a pretty independent person, so following someones every move didn't really connect with me as an idea for fun. But I feel like some artists use the general idea of this childrens game when they make music, copying the sound of band almost to the note. I know fads come and go, and I at least will swim in those waters a bit before I sink in them, but usually, I get frustrated with all the similarities. Thankfully, Skirts didn't make me that frustrated.

Skirts doesn't sound new to me, and that may be one of the only problems I have with the album. Within the vast jungle of surf-themed indie bands, it's hard to differentiate many of them from each other. I know that goes for most genres, but it's a gripe I have because I feel it's important to differentiate yourself from the other acts that sound similar to you. Following a crowd isn't necessarily a bad thing, but neither is individualism.

"Come With Me" and "Boots" are the best examples of their surf-themed material. They sound as beach worthy as you would expect, and as representations of the genre, they're both fine songs. Maybe I would enjoy them a bit more if I hadn't heard a thousand songs similar to them, but that's, again, just a gripe of mine. It's a fun style of music to play, so why not try it, right?

"Glow" puts a little punk-vibe into this album. It's a great track, and still maintains it's surf roots, but displays an energy I wish the band tried a little more in their work. "Library", the track I took the most away from on the album, sounds like a mixture between The Pixies and Polaris (Otherwise known as they guys who made the Pete And Pete theme song). It reminded me of the late eighties (Or at least what I've been presented of it in my life), an era that seems littered with great acts many of us forget. Whether Skirts intentionally made this song nostalgic or not, it oozes with a sense of cool I haven't heard in a while, and that's a great feeling to have.

Other tracks like "Formal" and "Study Break" feel incomplete, but still enjoyable. It seems like the band tries to get their product out there as soon as they can, more worried about it being out there then it being fine-tuned. I've been there a million times before, so not only can I sympathize with them, I can nearly forget about it completely. "Mootanning" sounds more like a rock ballad than a band obviously influenced by The Beach Boys, which, at least, changed the similar direction of the album a bit. It's totally out of place on the album, but, gotta give them points for trying.

Skirts is fairly straightforward, and I appreciated that. Nothing here is overly fancy, and I know that may scare some people away, but simplicity has its merits. That doesn't mean the same simplicity is complacent in it's similarities with other bands, it just means it knows it similarities and tweaks them enough to make them different. - Shane

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Pine Slacks - Hangman

I'm a first impression kind of guy. I think that may put it mildly though, because I rarely give things a second chance if they don't impress me in the first five minutes (Be it with movies, music or people). I'm a part of a generation that needs instant gratification, yearns above all else to have all the information available to them immediately. So, first impressions are part of our lifeblood, really. But with Hangman, a new album by Pine Slacks, I didn't need much of a first impression to be impressed in the first place.

Throughout my reviews, I've come to realize I may be destined to live in a log cabin, smoking an old pipe and sipping moonshine because I have some predisposed affection towards folk music. I've used the term 'folk' to describe many of the albums I've reviewed, and this is more of a simple realization than a complaint. It's just strange to see how I've, almost unknowingly, chose albums to review based on this concept.

Anyways, Pine Slacks play the folk card well, but they struggle a bit in how they want to go about honing their representation of the genre. With "Grey Cell Doors", their opening track, Pine Slacks play a song that would fit any western films today, echoing overlapping vocals with a simple, but somewhat haunting, acoustic riff. It reminded me, at least stylistically, like a Sean Rowe song (Because, as everyone knows, it's nearly impossible to hit the baratone style of singing Sean does). "Echoes", "Hangman" and "Long Drive" continue this trend, being more down-note and wounded in nature then their other tunes. They're solid additions, at least showing a form of depth to their songwriting.

"Time Machine" and "Stay" are fairly simple, if not unforgettable, which doesn't bother me much because I like the overall product of an album more than I do songs by themselves. "Know My Name" also keeps it light, but I found myself enjoying it immensely. I couldn't find a rhyme or reason as to why the song stuck with me long after I'd finished listening to it, but sometimes things don't need to beat you over the head in order to appreciate them. 

About my only grip with the album is the track "Hold On". The bass in the song is very loud, and completely distracted me from the rest of the tune. It's not something a little editing couldn't finish, but, obviously these guys felt it was good enough to put out. It must be intentional, and that's fine, but it doesn't make listening to the track any easier.

Hangman, while not sounding like the most polished album, excited me because of the bands devotion to their craft. It's hard to make folk songs sound different, but Pine Slacks clearly have some love being poured into their project, so their love isn't being used up in vain. At least that's the impression I get from it.. - Shane

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Keep Sam Yager in your thoughts

My friend Sam was recently admitted to Albany Hospital. The reason I post this on my blog is because not only is he a terrific musician, he's also a great friend.

Sam also goes under his stage name Birthdays. Maybe you've heard his often ambient, but always dance-worthy tunes somewhere live or online. I've had the fortune of knowing him since high school, and he's always been devoted to his craft and to his friends. People like that don't come around everyday.

Not much is known as to why he was taken to the hospital, but the only important thing is we keep him in our thoughts as he stays there for treatment. We wish you all the best, Sam! - Shane

Also, for those of you who want to check out his music, you can do so here:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: B.A. Canning Band - Normal Life

I retired from being in bands about 6 months ago. It's less of a retirement and more along the lines of what old baseball players do, riding out the season until someone comes a knockin on their door for their services. It's not that I can't or don't want to play, its just.....well, the area I live in doesn't produce many worthwhile artists I'd try to attach myself to. I feel like that would change if there was a band like B.A. Canning Band around.

These gents boast they play unconventional songs in a traditional manner. For once, I'm inclined to agree with a bands self-description. They're very much rooted in indie rock, I mean, just look at the album art. I wouldn't pick up an album like that and expect to hear an artist similar to Cannibal Corpse. But indie rock itself is so vague that just mentioning they play it makes me scratch my own head. They remind me a bit of The Decemberists, if, you know, they were on mescalin or something (Maybe they are). But even being likened to The Decemberists means these guys have a craft to their songwriting, and not many people try to add any craft into song-making anymore. 

"Under Tutelage (For Ernest Becker)" supports my claim on this. First off, it reminded me of "The Mariners Revenge Song" by The Decemberists. It doesn't copy it musically, but stylistically, presenting a 6 minute ballad for an opening track. Maybe no one will think the same way I do on this song, and that's fine, because, as close as it sounds to complaining, I'm actually applauding the band. I had a lot of fun with the track, and I feel its not only a perfect opener for the album, but a fairly strong song within its own right. 

"Ode And Burgeonings" is as close as they come to conventionality in Normal Life. It's a mixture of folk and country, combining the best of both genres to make what I feel is the strongest track on the album. It's really a terrific tune, and I don't like to gush about things much. "Old Time Boys" and "Ballad Of Richard Collier" feel similar to "Ode", but not as finely tuned. They're good in their own right, but when a track like "Ode And Burgeonings" affected me as much as it did, the other tracks on the record pail in comparison. That doesn't make me give the album a lower grade in my mind, I'm just fussy because it's so rare I find a track I like to listen to repeatedly. 

"Blackened Times" and "Popcorn And Beer" made me wonder, if only for a minute, if the album I was listening to was a compilation. The band suddenly emerge from their safe indie rock home to give us a few tracks with bar rock intros that go just as quickly as they had come. Once you get past the puzzling intros, the songs are quite good, but it still made me feel as if I leaned a bit too far back in my chair and had someone push me over. It woke me up, that's for sure.

"In The Forest" plays like their most commercially acceptable song. It feels like one of those tunes that's in the preview trailer to your favorite TV shows new upcoming season. That might have the bite of an insult to it, but there's a place for songs like that, and I often come to like the music that plays in trailers like that (The Walking Deads choices of songs in trailers being chief among them).

Normal Life was a nice album to check out, and I'm glad I didn't go ahead and write the other review I was going to because this one was a worthwhile endeavor. Kudos to these guys for trying something new with the same styles of music we've heard day in and day out, because, frankly, I'm sick of them. - Shane

Check out the album here!

Blitz Review: B'Gosh - Sweeties

If you're into music as much as I am, you come across the good, the bad and the really bad. But, it's not really put that simply. Somewhere, between the blurred lines of acceptance and displeasure, is bewilderment. Only, for me, bewilderment has a charm to it.

While scouring for something to review today I came across a little band called B'Gosh. Not exactly the most accommodating of band names on the tongue, but whatever, The Beatles had a shitty name and they did just fine. While listening to their new album, Sweeties, I felt like my face must have looked like I was eating some family members dinner they cooked that I didn't like, placating them with a smile both they and I knew was fake. Only, this time around, it was because I couldn't come to terms as to why I liked B'Goshs' sound. Only thing I knew was I did,

"Hurricane Will Come", their opening track, is a pleasant little track that, while oversaturated with a trebly guitar riff, manages to make it work over their almost unhearable drum track. That juxtaposition might throw some people off, but I find things like that gratifying. "The Only Meal" and "Calamity Jane", managing to sound a bit tighter, reminded me of The Fruit Bats (Who, if you've never checked out, you should), delivering just enough of a folk-like vibe to an otherwise pretty standard rock song. It brought me back to 2005-2006, when this type of combination started to take over indie rock.

"Ba Ba Doo Way" (Yes, that's an actual song title) and "Far Away From Old Wilmington" keep the folk vibes going for the band, and manage to keep the album going at a quick, but not punk rock quick pace. But even with the addition of folk to the bands sound, it sometimes gets to be a bit too much. I was reluctant to use the word 'Spazzy' , but came to the conclusion that it was a pretty apt description. Now, I like a spaz vibe put into any kind of music, but there was something about the bands use of treble throughout the album that made a few moments for me really unbearable. It didn't detract much from the album, but I might recommend mixing in the bass more for future albums. 

Honestly, it just sounds like these guys have a blast making music. Not every album has to be tweaked for hours in your home-made music studio your girlfriend hates because it takes up the one other free room in the apartment (That's not from experience, I can just see that totally being a thing). Sweeties bewildered me a bit, but totally won me over with its awkward charm. If you've got a soft spot for checking out a bunch of dudes fun music project, then B'Gosh is right for you! - Shane

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: Evil Eyes - Borderlines

Confusion is underrated. Most people think that by being confused, one has lessened their position in life. Their brains can't grasp something, and that makes them upset because they fancy themselves a modern day genius. But it is in the lack of understanding that we can sometimes enjoy things. Not everything has to etched out in stone for us. Borderlines, by Evil Eyes, embraces this premise for the most part.

I usually like describing bands sounds, because I feel like I do it pretty accurately. But this is where my own confusion set in while listening to this album. Lost somewhere between Minus The Bear, Feist and The Helio Sequence (See? Totally different bands), Evil Eyes has taken a baskets full of sounds, thrown them in a blender and presented us a sound not fully describable. Yes, it's indie and yes, it's got some pop vibes to it, but it's its own sound, so typical definitions don't work on them.

"Saw Her In The Sun", a track with a terrific little tinny surf guitar part, reminded me (Musically) of some Tom Petty song, whos name escapes me right me (Not a Tom Petty fan anyways, so, it will probably escape me for the rest of time). "Borderlines" feels at home more in a math-rock album than this one, which is really a compliment since it's hard to make a nice sounding math-rock song in the first place. Others like "Evil Eyes" and "In The Summer" carry a bit of an Americana vibe to them, feeling like the backdrops to Sharon Van Etten songs. This, too, is a compliment. It's not important for a band to continually carry the same sound song in and song out. So long as you do it well, that's all that matters.

There are also songs like "Roll On" and "Keep Your Mind On Me" which give the album a bit of a pick me with their pop sensibilities. These two wound up being my favorite tracks on the album probably because of that (I wasn't bored with the album at all, they just gave it some energy), and gives Evil Eyes something to work with as they continue to build their varied and unique sound.

I only have a few gripes with the album, and they're so inconsequential that there's almost no reason to write them. "Flow" is the only track I really didn't like, clocking in under two minutes. It's not so much the length that bothered me, but the delivery and the length. Evil Eyes do a very good job throughout the album and making quality songs that, when this one arrives, makes you wonder why they made it in the first place. It's near the end of the album, which is nice since if it came near the beginning, the strength it builds itself could have waned quickly. My other gripe is that "Paper Thin Moon", the lack track of the album, shouldn't have been the last track of the album. I'm sure these guys deliberated as to how the album was going to progress, but I felt like it wasn't totally fulfilling as a bookend.

Borderlines is different, and those differences are what work for it. It's clear Evil Eyes worked hard to master their sound, as varied as it is, and the results speak for themselves. If you consider yourself brave, hell, even if you consider yourself a wuss towards trying new music, you owe it to yourself to check out Evil Eyes new album, Borderlines, today.  - Shane

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blitz Review: Dirty Beaches - Drifters

I'm not a big fan of prototypical sayings, but the phrase 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' came into my head as I listened to Dirty Beaches album, Drifters. The mans made a killing sampling tunes from the 50's and 60's and molding them into something straight out of a David Lynch film. Only, he really hasn't changed. I guess, why would he? If what he's done has worked so far, why try to change that?

"Night Walk" is a haunting little number that feels at home at some awkward party you were invited to, but that only 4 people showed up for. It's unsettling, but not scary, like most of his songs are I feel. Others like "Casino Lisboa" and "I Dream In Neon" reinforce his golden-age song sampling prowess, nearly beating the idea out of your head that maybe he created every sound in those songs.

Thankfully, he does deviate from his typical song style to deliver a few tracks better suited for the movie Drive. "Mirage Hall" and "Elli" sound like they were ripped right out of an old VHS tape to some terrible action movie. They're fun, if not a big long, at least giving the album a sense of depth and not the same tried and true sounds over and over. "Landscapes In The Mist", the last track on the album, simply feels like filler material, which, as I've stated in a review before, is not something I take a liking to. 

Drifters is good for fans of Dirty Beaches, and may be good enough to sway some haters off his path, but that's doubtful. I've complained about bands changing their style before, but when you're almost given the same album time and time again, it begins to get a little bland. I mean, hey, maybe their right. Maybe there is such a thing as 'Too much of a good thing'? - Shane

Review: The Lost Luvs - Covers For Luvas

Cover bands piss me off. It could be my admiration of original music that makes me so hostile towards them, but regardless of the reason, the hatred has always been there. I also live in a town where there's nothing but 50 year old men playing "Sweet Caroline" terribly outside bar patios everynight, so my bias is a bit heightened by this association. Thankfully, I still have some semblance of open-mindedness. I'm glad I did as I listened to The Lost Luvs album, Covers For Luvas.

I actually didn't know it was a cover band until I actually read the title of the album and double-checked to make sure that's that they actually were on their facebook. Shame on me for not checking out the album title, but album art often blindingly attracts me to listen to a band. 

The band says they cover "Vintage rock n roll and other hidden gems", which seems pretty accurate since I didn't know any of the songs on the album. This actually increased my enjoyment of the album since knowing a song well, and having it be butchered by a cover band, can be one of the worst experiences life can throw at you (Paper Cuts and dropping your ice cream cone just after buying it being the others). Tracks like "Lucille" and "Skinny Vinny" could be played on any college radio today, and no one would be the wiser as to them being covers. They fit in perfectly with the The Raincoats and Dum Dum Girls chick-based surf rock bands that everyone (Including myself) is in to. 

"One Eyed Cat", my favorite track on the album, honestly sounded like a Best Coast song, so much so that I had to check my itunes to see if it randomly playing them. That's a testament to a songs (And genres) long standing appeal. I might also add that I lied, because towards the end of the album, a song called "Blue" came on that I did recognize. Only I didn't recognize it from the radio, I was familiar with it because The 5,6,7,8's play it in the first Kill Bill film . I could see Quentin Tarantino using this band in a movie or soundtrack someday.

Covers For Luvas is nice in that it can connect with the college crowd and, for lack of a better term, geriatric crowd. I'm sure people who grew up in the fifties would know a few tracks off this album and make them yearn to drive their old roadsters in the nostalgic joy of it. And for the rest of us? Well, it's just nice being introduced to a era of music most of us know nothing about. - Shane

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blitz Review: Oaf - Birth School Oaf Death

Did you see those massive crowds of people celebrating yesterday in England? Well, it really wasn't for the royal baby being born. Truth be told, it was because Oaf was releasing their new album, Birth School Oaf Death

Somewhere, among all the havoc of this album, I came to the realization their sound was, well, unique, much like most things British are. Comprised of two members, Oaf is like the baby of Death From Above 1979 and Faith No More. Confused? I was a bit too, but kept my mind open to it. "Fuck Off Seagull" and "The Terrors" play more like what the band describes themselves as: A punk band. Not punk in the traditional sense, but a minimalist, two man punk band trying to puncture your ear drums with bass strings (As I wrote that, I cringed thinking how much that would actually hurt). 

Other tracks like "Kill The Stupid People", which sounds, as much as it can, more metal than the other tunes and "Are You Loathsome Tonight?", which had some semblance of The Stray Cats without Setzers cool cat vocals, remind the listener that these gentlemen at least had some fun in making this music, which, as any good music aficionado knows, can go a long ways.

I came across Oafs' Birth School Oaf Death by accident, but I'm not complaining about it. Living in America, I don't come across unique things that often, which is strange considering we like to say our country is a 'Cultural Melting Pot'. So if you have an interest in broadening your musical spectrum, an interest in anything or everything British or simply want to know what a lovechild between Death From Above 1979 and Faith No More would sound like, check out Birth School Oaf Death today. - Shane

Also, check out the album here on bandcamp:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Man's Gin - Rebellion Hymns

I get sick of trends quickly. I know it depends on the person, like anything, but I feel most people like to ride a fad out until it starts dying quicker than when it appeared. The whole folk/Americana thing going on right now seems to be played out, and it's unfortunate considering how great the genre is as a whole. Having said that, I have to add to this by saying that not all hope is lost. because, every so often, an act comes along that sways me back onto a positive opinion of it. Man's Gin, Rebellion Hymns, is one of them.

The first thing I thought of when listening to this album was how much I wanted to grab a bottle of whiskey and sit by a fire while enjoying the tunes, which, I'm sure, is something Man's Gin  does daily. As a whole, the album takes on a very rustic tone, which fits in perfectly within the genre itself. But the good thing is it doesn't entirely define the sound as a whole, which is something I find most bands that sound like them do today.

"Never Do The Neon Lights", probably my favorite track on the album, plays out more like a country song, displaying a twangy vibe better reserved for commercial radio. That sounds like a insult, but rest assured it's never in the aesthetics of music that I find fault, it's in the overall delivery, and Man's Gin does it so well you forget your preconceived notions of country (If you have any like I do). "Deer Head & The Rain" also sounds very commercial, but in the most low-fi way possible. It's rare I hear bongos being played in an album anymore (Of any genre), but the song uses them so well you feel more like you're watching friends jam out instead of listening to an album, which totally broadens its appeal to me. Making a song intimate, while not being played live, is one of the hardest things you can do in music.

"Off The Coast Of Sicily" is a welcome addition to the record in that it is more rock oriented than folk. Considering the album was released by Profound Lore Records (Who seem to release some pretty great metal records), this song may have been the selling point to having it be released. It's dark, but powerful, which makes it sound more akin to English gothic metal band (Cradle Of Filth, anyone?) than the Americana I mentioned earlier. 

"Cellar Doors" and "Sirens" continue the bands strong showing on this album, swatting away any doubt I had that there was going to be just a few amazing tracks instead of a whole albums worth of songs. It maybe the pathetic excuse of a job I have that makes me yearn for anything decent in this god forsaken world, but this album delivered in a way I did not expect. It's a welcome addition to life to have a band deliver such a unique and tightly produced piece of work.

Overall, I loved this album. My friend who told me about this band/album told me it was like Days Of The New, which, for any of you remembering the 90's based folk-rock band, is not only a bit of an insult, but also complete and utter bull shit. This style of music might be overplayed now, but it breathes new life here, made better by Man's Gin bold musical choices throughout. Rebellion Hymns is an amazing experience you should enjoy not only at a campfire, but at home as well. - Shane

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Drive North - Land And Sea

I'm a man of nature. That doesn't mean I live in a tent in the woods or lack the willpower to shower, but rather, I enjoy the outdoors more than I enjoy a cityscape. I feel like I take that same ideaology into how I perceive music too, enjoying music that feels raw and under-produced as opposed to being over-produced. It doesn't mean I necessarily like it more, I just appreciate the approach more. Drive Norths album, Land And Sea, emboldens my claim.

Land And Sea feels a little off, but it was so endearing to me that I nearly shook it off completely. With a vocal styling that is a near clone to James Taylors', this acoustic (And sometimes minimally electronic) group kept me interested almost through the entire album, which is rare considering I'm such a snob with  acoustic acts in general. "Hello Limbo", the second song on the album, totally made my day. Yes, I spent all day cleaning my apartment in near 100 degree weather, so there wasn't much room for it getting any worse, but it put a smile on my face, which, being in 100 degree weather by itself, is a testament to the songs strength. It felt more like Broken Bells than James Taylor, but that only added to its appeal.

"High Season" and "Naked", the last two songs on the album, go back to its primary acoustic roots, delivering songs that feel perfect for a nice, leisurely drive along a country road. "Shipwrecked", a nice, calming track with a backdrop of a rainstorm, may just be the only acoustic song I know that works well with an ambient sample in it. Not that I've ever even heard an acoustic song with a rainstorm in the background, but it was a nice little touch none-the-less.

However, as I say that, another song that uses a sample in it, "Southern Lights", did not make me calm at all. Maybe it's the history I have with birds (A ex-roommates bird once flew at my head. It also never shut up.), but the sound of birds chirping throughout an entire song does not really mix well in my mind. The sample of the birds also seems way too loud, which detracts from the song itself, which isn't bad. If they had only done one song with a nature-themed sample in the background, maybe the track would have stuck out more to me. As it turns out, I found it to be amazingly grating.

That being said, Land And Sea is a nice, simple listen. It doesn't try to blow you away with any fancy bells and whistles, instead relying on some catchy acoustic guitar riffs, and a nice, soothing voice to go along with it. If only other musicians could understand that same approach. - Shane

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Wise Blood - ID

Expectation is a bad thing. Problem is, we can't shake it, can we? You fall in love with something so much, it begins to take on a form not its own. Try to think differently, and you'll find yourself simply going back to your original thought because you can't escape how excited you really are for whatever it is you're looking forward to. That's how I felt before listening to Wise Bloods, ID

Unfortunately, I am a big Wise Blood fan. I say unfortunately because I don't like talking smack about the bands I like. But ID, Wise Bloods first album, knows it wants to sound similarly to their previous work, but almost fails to do so. You see, Wise Blood relies on loops, beats and samples to create a sound that is truly unique. It's at once poppy, then hip-hop-esque, but not genre defining, which is something I always liked about them. They're their own sound, and that's something that anyone and everyone strives to find in todays' musical world. But when you lose sight of that uniqueness, things start to fall apart.

"Rat" and "Routine Reality" remain my favorite tracks on the album because they embrace what I've come to expect with Wise Blood. They're fun, and are full of his trade mark usage of great samples mashed together to create an almost drug fueled atmosphere. Even a song like "AMC Loews Waterfront", which I would say is almost a full blown reggae song, works because it still shows his flair for the bizarre with the different uses of samples throughout. I might also add that he must have envisioned himself living on a tropical island while he made this album, because another track, "0.01$", is as Jimmy Buffet as you can get (That's also my second Buffet reference in two reviews, ugh), but does so with a freshness and style I wish he continued to embrace.

"Target" remains the most puzzling track on the whole album. If I heard out of context of the album, I almost would have sworn it wasn't Wise Blood I was listening to. It sounds like a pop song from the late nineties, which, honestly, wasn't an era of music I embraced. I get trying to do something different, but when it almost erases all the hard work you did in the first place to make the sound you have, it makes you cringe a bit.

Other tracks like "Spider Web", "8 P.M - 10 P.M" (A 'instrumental track') and "11 P.M - 1 A.M" (Also a 'instrumental' track), feel almost lazy and uninspired. While "Spider Web" does have vocals in it, it's more of a filler track, which is glaringly obvious. I know an album can't be comprised of hit after hit, but when it stands out as a track that is meant for nothing more then to fill up time, it gets no love whatsoever. And "8 P.M - 10 P.M" and "11PM - 1 A.M" just don't belong in the album. Wise Blood has done 'instrumental' songs before (I say 'instrumental' because it's still only samples and loops), but these just don't stand out with any samples worth noting. It's just noise to me really, and that's a problem, not only with the continuity of the album, but with the overall product as well.

Thankfully, the opening and closing tracks ("Alarm" and "Consumed", respectively), remain strong, giving the album a good bookend. "Consumed", being the favorite of those two, made me wish he did more songs like it, adding a tribal-choral flare that is singular to Wise Blood. 

After listening to the album, I came to the decision that I really enjoyed 7 out of the 12 songs in it. Problem is, the other 5 songs just fall so flat for me, and come at such inopportune times in the album, that, as a whole, it never gains enough momentum to last as an album. But as stand alone songs, those 7 are marvelous examples of what Wise Blood is capable of, and what creative musicians like Charlie Laufman (The sole member of Wise Blood), can make in todays cluttered music environment. ID is a chaotic, worthwhile listen. - Shane

The album is also available to listen to online, which you can check out here:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I don't know many people who use Bandcamp as feverishly as I do. I will spend hours looking for new music on the site, subjecting myself to what must amount to light torture in my exploration of good music. Thankfully, I usually come through in the end with a winner. 

I know nothing about OOGA BOOGAS. I randomly came upon them in the same feverish search I just mentioned, and breathed a sign of relief upon hearing their music. A collection of all their songs from their vinyl releases, Booga Box plays much like you think it would, giving the audience a glimpse into the bands transformation over the years, however long or short that may be. And what a interesting and varied transformation it is.

Booga Box starts off so strong it may have honestly affected how I perceived the rest of the album. The opening track, "The Octopus Is Back", is a quick garage rock ditty that honestly had me nodding my head to the beat of the song (Something outside of a concert I rarely do). It excited me in a way few opening tracks have recently, and that's impressive in and of itself. "Diggin A Hole" and "I Can't Clear My Name" are further testaments to this bands garage rock roots, fitting somewhere between The Hives and The Cramps. But from there, things begin to change.

Knowing this to be a collection of the bands vinyl works, I knew things were going to be varied, but it almost felt like I was listening to a compilation more then the same band throughout. Songs like "On Safari" and "Oogie Boogie" come across as more surf rock than garage rock, which is fine because those two genres are often cited with one another anyways. But then you'll do a double take when a song like "Eisbaer", which reminded sounded like some punk song from the 80's, comes on. It's not that it's a bad song, on the contrary, I actually liked it, it just feels like it doesn't blend well with the rest of the tunes before it.

Towards the end of the album, things seem to start unraveling. "Mind Reader", the weakest track of the whole album, totally threw me for a loop. I felt like I had suddenly walked into a bar meant for people 40 and up, with a band playing a song a little bit Jimmy Buffet, and a little bit jam band. It just doesn't fit in with the rest of the albums songs, and makes you wonder what happened to the fun music these guys were making when they first started the band. Even a song like "It Is A Sign", which I did like overall, feels unfulfilling because it doesn't capture the bands earlier energy, and instead replaces it with a radio friendly indie-rock vibe.

Booga Box is totally worth listening to, and I know I may have come across as a bit vicious towards the end of the review. It's just painful to really get into a band from the get-go and then be disappointed in the changes they make in their sound. It reminded me of how The Replacements changed, from a gritty, punk-rock esque garage rock band, to a 80's pop-rock group. Some liked the transition, others despised it. You be the judge for yourself with OOGA BOOGAS, Booga Box - Shane

Also, here is a link to the album on Bandcamp, which was just recently released:

It took me five minutes to figure out the introduction of my blog....

Welcome to Everything Sounds The Same To Me.

That's about as far as I got when thinking about how I would introduce this blog.

Music is one of three things in the world everyone likes, air and living being the other two. But although music is universal, it's also very personable. No two people are alike in their appreciation of music. You may find a man who likes death metal, and the occasional Phil Collins tune. His friend also likes death metal, but thinks Phil Collins should be dragged out into the street and beat to death for the music he makes (Conservative guess on that one). Point is, everyone is different, and so is the music we make.

So with that in mind I must warn you that this blog will have its loyalties to certain genres, but will be different every time it's updated. It's important to explore the world of music, because there's so much out there to listen to. Hopefully you'll enjoy taking the trip with me - Shane, ESTSTM