Monthly Archives: June 2012

Joey Bada$$ – “1999” Review

Joey Bada$$ – 1999
Genre – Hip-hop

Label: Self-released

Joey Bada$$ is a 17-year-old Brooklyn MC, and “1999” is his largely anticipated debut mixtape, after releasing several tracks here and there over the past couple of months. He’s also part of the Pro Era (Progressive Era) collective of MCs and producers. One of the main things that becomes so obvious when listening to Joey Bada$$ is that he’s incredibly aware for his age, both socially and musically. Continue reading

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I’m not sure whether or not to do short book reviews…

I do like reading, and sometimes I feel so breathless and lost after finishing a great book that I’m not sure what I should do afterwards, or how to think or feel. I’m feeling exactly this way right now at 3.33am on a Friday morning after just finishing Stephen King’s Carrie.

My knowledge in literature isn’t as extensive as it is with music though, admittedly. I’ve probably half-read or skimmed a lot more books than I’ve paid a 100% attention to – although books I will probably read from now on are the types I enjoy, not the ones I have to study or analyse while keeping post-modern or feminist issues in mind.

I’ll have to think about it, but I feel like I could easily do a short review or summary of what I think when I finish a book. I’m not sure if people would be interested in that? Let me know somehow.

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The Portrait – “Infinity” Quick Review

The Portrait – Infinity
Genre: Metalcore/Experimental

Label: Self-released

The Portrait are a refreshing downtempo four-piece metalcore band from New Mexico, and even then it’s pretty hard to describe the band as ‘metalcore’ alone, as there seems to be influences of a sparse range in their sound – especially ‘djent’, ambient and progressive metal. If you’re hoping for a The Devil Wears Prada sound-a-like, then you’re looking at the wrong band.

This 6-song EP runs along a concept of the relationship between the Royal Stars and the Earth. Earth discovers the Royal Stars, a collective entity above the planet that watch over it. Then Earth creates humanity while giving it conscience; a right reserved only for the Royal Stars – eventually the gift becomes clear and the stars are initially unhappy with Earth’s actions, and events unfold.

So, with this story in mind, you can expect philosophical lyrics involving Gods, scenes of apocalypse, denial and acceptance, etc. The EP is split into four parts with an instrumental intro and outro. The opening track Arches prepares you with this ground-shaking rumble with all these echoing sounds, before these deep, tremelo-picked guitars jump in and the rest of the band follows in this metalcore/’djent’ mixing sound.

This sound is pretty continuous for the whole theme, obviously with alterations. The second track Part I. Gaia starts with this really nice spacey high-end guitar riff while vocalist Matt West introduces himself with clear pronunciation despite the almost spit-like shouting, with slight reverb. The track also features guest vocalist John Luzietti, who speaks as the Earth, having this mean guttural shout which morphs into growls. It’s pretty intense.

The following tracks also feature different guest vocalists with their own styles, speaking as the stars or Earth, keeping the listener on their toes the whole time. Matt Sanchez on Part III. Taurus has this very emotional hardcore sound which is accompanied by sombre waves of low, ringing guitars. Polyrhythm riffs also come in and out of each song – Part IV. Leo opens with one that just sounds punishing and judgemental.

The problem with “Infinity” is that its story seems so deep, yet only explored so briefly, that it should be material for a full-length album and maybe explained in more detail. It can be difficult to distinguish different tracks too, instrumentally.

But “Infinity” is definitely worthwhile for anyone looking for something more thoughtful and experimental than most metalcore bands, and sounds like unimaginable mix of Brutality Will Prevail, Hopesfall and “Hollow Crown”-era Architects.

You can download the EP for free here: http://theportraitnm.bandcamp.com/

7/10
Favourite tracks: Part I. Gaia, Part III. Taurus.

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Melvins – “Freak Puke” Review

Melvins – Freak Puke
Genre – Sludge/Experimental Rock

Label: Ipecac Recordings

Melvins, as you should probably know already if you’re inclined to rock music, are one of the most iconic bands in experimental rock of the past 29 years, delving in areas of metal, grunge, sludge, doom and even drone – while doing covers of KISS and Dies Isrea, the infamous theme for The Shining. From putting out albums made of songs that rarely step over the 2-minute mark (“Ozma”) to a lengthy drone-doom 6-song album (“Lysol”), Melvins are not about the ordinary and predictable, and continue to defy what even their own fans might expect. “Freak Puke” is their eighteenth album and their second release of 2012. Continue reading

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