Music

Music Pick of the Day – Ours (part 1 of 2)

 
Ours – Distorted Lullabies

Music Pick of the Day - Ours

Fallen Souls
Here is the Light
Sometimes
Medication
Dancing Alone

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I played the shit out of this album when I was about 22. A couple years before, I discovered Jeff Buckley and he quickly became my favorite musician ever, certainly the best rock singer ever. Sad to discover him a couple years after he died, and to know that there will be no new music or concerts to ever look forward to. Enter Jimmy Gnecco, who for all intents and purposes is the band Ours. I’m certain many Jeff Buckley fans look to Jimmy Gnecco as the continuation of Jeff Buckley’s legacy, as if he’s still alive and there’s new quality albums from him coming out. There’s just no denying it, Jimmy Gnecco is channeling Jeff Buckley. And no one is complaining. Sure, Jimmy Gnecco is darker and much more rock focused and he screams a lot more, but It’s scary, he even looks just like Jeff Buckley in the album art.

jimmy gnecco of ours looking like jeff buckley Jeff Buckley compared with Jimmy Gnecco
Jimmy Gnecco Jeff Buckley

The opening song “Fallen Souls” kicks ass, and I love how despite its aggressive metal energy it pulls you into a beautiful trance. My favorite song is probably “Here Is The Light”, gorgeous, intense and tortured. “Dancing Alone” is so bitter-sweet, should have been a hit single.
I fell in love with this cd when I was younger, and after listening to it again I remember why.

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Music Pick of the Day – Apparat

 
Apparat – Walls

Music Pick of the Day - Apparat

You Don’t Know Me
Hailin’ From The Edge
Useless Information
Limelight
Holdon
Arcadia

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Very creative and clever electronica. Combining IDM with Post Rock with Ambient with Soul with a bit of Hip Hop and Jazz. Just a really imaginative sound that’s still accessible and sexy. Full of atmosphere, but still with a groove, and so much subtle brilliance. There really isn’t a clear genre that this falls under as it’s kind of all over the place, but overall it’s a solid consistent album without any tracks that need to be skipped. I almost smell a masterpiece.

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Music Pick of the Day – The Cardigans

 
The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight

Music Pick of the Day - The Cardigans

Communication
You’re The Storm
And Then You Kissed Me
Feathers and Doom
No Sleep

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I love when a band completely abandons their sound, reinvents themselves, and actually comes up with something much BETTER. Man did The Cardigans vindicate themselves from their cheesy radio pop days a la “Lovefool“. I didn’t hate them at all back then, just wasn’t into it. “Gran Turismo” did show a lot of promise in the electronic pop genre. But “Long Gone Before Daylight“, this is a beautiful masterpiece. Dropping the electronic thing for a mostly acoustic singer/songwriter feel. Very personal and bare. But the songs are still detailed and creatively developed. Her singing is on another level from before. It’s hard to believe this is an entirely new sound for them. “And Then You Kissed Me” is tender and edgy, a song about the joys of relationship violence, that could possibly offend a few feminists. Ok, this is not masculine music, but I’m not ashamed to admit I’m in love with this album.

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Music Pick of the Day – Archive (part 4 of 4)

 Archive – Controlling Crowds I-IV

Music Pick of the Day - Archive: Controlling Crowds

Pills
The Empty Bottle
Dangervisit
Quiet Time
Chaos
Razed to the Ground

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You could say this is a worthy sequel to Archive’s masterpiece “You All Look The Same To Me”. It is a concept album, only it’s not a 70s progressive rock throwback, it’s modern and proud. And it’s far more ambitious. Consequently, it’s less accessible. Not perfect, it has its misses, but regardless, this is a monumental achievement.
A complex concept double album, it all mixes together and flows with purpose, an attempt of something like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” for this generation. Sometimes the material is Archive’s most accessible, sometimes their most ‘out there’. Controlling Crowds has many creative highs, and a few lows. Archive is pushing boundaries here, their own boundaries and the boundaries of music.
They did bring back their rapper… BUT, holy shit, it’s actually quite good this time. I’m not kidding! I don’t like rap at all, but the underlying song is creative and the vibe actually fits in well with the rest of the album (check out Quiet Time). On songs like Pills and The Empty Bottle they find a perfect mix of Electronica with Rock sensibility. Despite any flaws, this double album is amazing, and cements Archive as one of the most creative forces in music today.

My favorite Archive albums are still “Londinium” and “You All Look The Same To Me”

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Music Pick of the Day – Archive (part 3 of 4)

 Archive – Lights

Music Pick of the Day - Archive: Lights

Lights
Headlights
Programmed
I Will Fade

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“Lights” is a very mixed bag. There’s nothing consistent here that makes the songs feel like they belong together on the same album. I love half the album, the other half irritates me. When they’re good, they’re amazing, and there are some gems here. The highlight is the monster 18 1/2 minute title track song “Lights”. Another ambient slow build electronic rock masterpiece by the boys of Archive. Like the song “Again” from their album “You All Look The Same To Me”, “Lights” exists on a different time dimension than other music you listen to. It doesn’t rush itself, but lets you absorb it deep.
There is a brief return to their Trip Hop roots with the song Headlights. There’s several faster songs that rock out, and they’re cool musically, but ruined by the singer resorting to annoying monotone shouts.
(I skipped reviewing their 4th album “Noise”, for the same reason that while the music is pretty cool there, the singing annoys me)

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Music Pick of the Day – Archive (part 2 of 4)

 
Archive – You All Look the Same to Me

Music Pick of the Day - Archive: You All Look The Same To Me

Again
Sham
Meon
Finding It So Hard
Fool
Need

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Archive completely reinvented themselves with this album, you won’t believe this is from the same musicians as Londinium. Which would be really upsetting, because their Trip Hop sound was so well executed and influential; until… you hear this! Wow Wow. This album is even better. Genius. Beautiful. Mesmerizing.
The album begins with “Again”, one of the coolest songs ever recorded. Yeah it’s over 16 minutes, but it’s worth it. Listen to it in full and don’t skip through, you’ll ruin the deliberate buildup. Let yourself absorb it and follow the journey as it slowly develops. Everything about the song is stellar, except maybe the lyrics. But who cares? This is something special; starting off with organs, acoustic guitar and harmonica, the subtle textures, the progression, the production, even the singing.
This is electronic infused 70’s progressive guitar rock. Female lounge singer is out. Rapper is out [thank you god]. Male rock singer is in. If this album was simply released as Pink Floyd’s latest work in the new millennium it would received unlimited publicity heralding the return of the gods. Archive has mastered a totally different sound and has surpassed themselves here.
(btw, this is their third album, I skipped reviewing Archive’s second album “Take My Head” because… well, they lost their way there and it’s mostly painful and embarrassing, don’t bother with it.)

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Music Pick of the Day – Archive (part 1 of 4)

 
Archive – Londinium

Music Pick of the Day - Archive: Londinium

Old Artist
Dark Room
Head Space
Londinium
Nothing Else

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Many consider this the best Trip Hop album of all time. Surpassing even Portishead and Massive Attack. Well, I’d say it’s certainly a contender. The beats are intelligent and complex. The music is gorgeous and epic, the female vocals enchanting. BUT!!! Many of the songs are ruined when from out of nowhere this 80s style Rapper needlessly comes in and just fucking kills the vibe, jarring a careful creation of art and beauty. The album would be really sexy if there wasn’t any rapping. What were they thinking?! Londinium is the great masterpiece that almost was. And still could be with a minor tweak. ARCHIVE, PLEASE release a version with the rapper completely mixed out. Then you’ll have a real contender for the greatest trip hop album prize. Seriously, this album is really good. As the title suggests, these guys are from London and apparently this first album of theirs from the 90s was competing with all awesomeness coming out of Bristol. Archive has evolved into a completely different sound now 7 albums later, but you can hear seeds of their current sound here. Still, even though they’re not trip hop anymore, it seems like any one song here could fit somewhere on their latest albums.

Music Pick of the Day – The Cure

 
The Cure – Disintegration

Music Pick of the Day - The Cure

Love Song
Pictures of You
Fascination Street
Plainsong
Untitled

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Holy fuck!
Many of my favorite bands were heavily influenced by The Cure. So many friends that I respect love The Cure. And I’ve always responded with “Yeah, they’re ok, not really into them.”
I only just heard “Disintegration”. Wow! Now I understand. This is truly epic.
This is the spacier, darker, prettier side of The Cure.
If this album didn’t happen in 1989 I think music today would be worse.

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Music Pick of the Day – Does It Offend You, Yeah?

 
Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into

Music Pick of the Day - Does It Offend You, Yeah?

With A Heavy Heart (I Regret to Inform You)
We Are Rockstars
Dawn of the Dead
Doomed Now
Epic Last Song

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These guys are definitely one of the best electro house indie 80s new wave synth-pop punk metal hardcore raver break-beat bands out there. Yeah, this album is ALL OVER the place. Nothing is consistent here except insanity and genius. I am SO impressed. I think the album title just about sums it up. It’s not that these different styles haven’t been done before, but their attitude and take on everything is fresh, so unique and so much fun. “Does it Offend You, Yeah?” is definitely not for everyone, and even my first jarring impression left me wondering what the fuck is wrong with these maniacs. I forced myself to try and figure out just how anyone could actually enjoy this (an exercise I often do with adored bands I’m not feeling) until it quickly grew on me to the point where I felt bored with everything else. The only song here I still just can’t get into is “Attack of the 60ft Lesbian Octopus”; it’s too ‘eating paint and bouncing off the walls’ for me. Some of the songs here do sound like they’d fit right into place on The Killers’ “Hot Fuss” album, but those pieces are excellent and much better than what the Killers are putting out lately anyway.
This album slams with a sledgehammer, and yet it maintains a high level of subtlety and sophistication, while it incites rebellious disobedience, out of control slam dancing, and a deep philosophical reexamination of the purpose of music.
I can’t wait for their next album due out hopefully sometime this year.
(Free tip for guys: If your romantic overtures aren’t working and some girl is giving you a lot of shit; change up the mood, put this cd on loud starting with track 2 [“With a Heavy Heart”] and she’ll know not to fuck around anymore) ;)

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Music Pick of the Day – Thunderball

 
Thunderball – Scorpio Rising

Music Pick of the Day - Thunderball

Heart of the Hustler
Domino
Vai Vai
Solar

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This is one of my favorite CDs. Adding Drum & Bass to funky 70s blaxplotation movie music and some latin soul. I’m adopting the first track as the Hustle Bear theme song. Listen for the chorus “Watch out! For the Hustle Bear!”. What a fucking cool album. Both chill and energetic. The beats are clever and complex and FUN. Great for the gym. Great for when you have some friends over. Great for when you’re in the mood to get down and get some of that… anyway it’s a cool vibe, check it out!