Tag Archives: review

The Necks ponders its identity and legacy on Three, a personal album that’s as accessible as it is challenging

Photo Courtesy of Northern Spy Records

The bustling, unrestrained soundscapes created by The Necks are unmistakable. Since the late 80s, the Australian trio has blended jazz, ambient and experimental music to form lengthy, hypnotic pieces. And by developing an instrumental formula of piano, drums and bass — with the occasional organ and guitar — the band has won a dedicated following that seems to grow with every new album. Continue reading The Necks ponders its identity and legacy on Three, a personal album that’s as accessible as it is challenging

Huntsmen builds a hostile desert world on epic sophomore LP, Mandala of Fear

Photo Courtesy of Prosthetic Records

Two years after its full-length debut American Scrap, Chicago metal outfit Huntsmen have returned with a bluesy concept album more than twice the length of its predecessor. Mandala of Fear, the band’s 85 minute sophomore effort, immerses listeners in a hostile desert world to which even God has turned a blind eye. Continue reading Huntsmen builds a hostile desert world on epic sophomore LP, Mandala of Fear

The Men returns to its country rock dabblings on ambitious new album, Mercy

Photo Courtesy of Sacred Bones Records

Comprehensive statements have never been the main takeaway from albums by The Men, and none of the Brooklyn rock band’s past seven releases would even come close to being considered “conceptual.”

But, instead of using extended narratives to hold records together, the band has developed a tendency to cluster songs that build upon each other to elevate stretches of its albums. And on the band’s eighth full-length, Mercy, The Men employs its clustering technique to masterful effect. Continue reading The Men returns to its country rock dabblings on ambitious new album, Mercy

Apocalyptica confronts the unknown equipped only with instruments and song names on new full-length, Cell-0

Photo from Silver Lining Music

Starting with its first LP in 1996, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, the Finnish band Apocalyptica has spent its career reimagining metal music from a neoclassical standpoint, a perspective responsible for the group’s one-of-kind sound. Now, nearly a quarter century removed from its initial Metallica tribute, the band’s latest effort, Cell-0, marks a notable return to origins for the quartet, which consists of three unconventional cellists and a heavy metal drummer. Continue reading Apocalyptica confronts the unknown equipped only with instruments and song names on new full-length, Cell-0

Pop. 1280 reemerges with a new lineup on Way Station, an ominous, psychological thriller of a record

Photo from Weyrd Son Records

Way Station, the new album from Brooklyn industrial punks Pop. 1280, is a fitting title. It marks a new chapter for the band not only in material, but in its creative dynamic.

In the three years since the group’s last release, 2016’s Paradise, the band lost two key members with the departures of its drummer and synth player, leaving singer Chris Bug and guitarist Ivan Lip to figure out ways to fill the sonic voids their former bandmates left behind. Continue reading Pop. 1280 reemerges with a new lineup on Way Station, an ominous, psychological thriller of a record

Forest Management explores the formidable landscape of night on its new classically-inspired double album After Dark

Photo Courtesy of American Dreams Records

To interpret a piece as celebrated as Claude Debussy’s La Mer is a bold undertaking for any musician, even those as accomplished as Tosconini, Bernstein or John Williams. And further, to successfully adapt it into a different style of music comes with its own set of challenges.

But the decision by Forest Management, the Chicago-based music project of John Daniel, to sample and recontextualize the famous symphonic sketches into an ambient double LP feels wholly appropriate. After all, Debussy valued sound and texture over melody and progression much like today’s ambient artists. “There is no theory. You merely have to listen,” Debussy once said. “Pleasure is the law.” Continue reading Forest Management explores the formidable landscape of night on its new classically-inspired double album After Dark

Tim Buckley: Live at the Electric Theatre Co. 1968 provides another compelling touchstone in mapping out the masterful singer-songwriter’s stylistic progression

Photo from Manifesto Records

In the age of the smartphone, if a musician was to test out new songs and ideas in front of a live audience, then, like clockwork, videos would be posted online for everyone to see and post comments. And even if the songs weren’t played live, there’s always the possibility of demos being leaked and downloaded, which has happened to dozens of musicians this century. But, back in 1968, the pre-internet world allowed for artists to take bigger risks in performances without fear of backlash from music bloggers. Continue reading Tim Buckley: Live at the Electric Theatre Co. 1968 provides another compelling touchstone in mapping out the masterful singer-songwriter’s stylistic progression