Music Reviews



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Artist: Airiel (@)
Title: The Battle Of Sealand
Format: CD
Label: Walking Bicycles (@)
Rated: *****
Ariel's new album brings the pop back into shoegaze, while lots of bands of the new generation are more focused on the atmospheres. The comparisons could be sunnier side of Secret Shine and the most accessible Spiritualized (how I miss them...). The opening track is called "Introduction" and is using many layers; it's hard to pigeonhole but it is somehow clichéed and reminds me of a guitar version of Herrmann & Kleine earlier stuff. "The Battle Of Sealand" contains at least two outstanding tracks, the first is "Sugar Crystals" which features Ulrich Schnauss and it's a mind blowing example of nu-gaze - I'm sure this will be a classic in their repertoire; the other one is "Mermaid In A Manhole" (quite strange to find a reference to a very graphic movie of the infamous Guinea Pig series on a record like this). The record is amazingly recorded and there are lots and lots of fuzzes and layers of distorted guitars - but personally I liked Airiel better when they were experimenting with ambiences and drones.
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Artist: NICK DIDKOVSKY (@)
Title: Tube Mouth Bow String
Format: CD
Label: Pogus (@)
Rated: *****
After sever listenings I can truly say I really love this release. For those who haven’t associated the name yet: this Didkovsky is a member of Doctor Nerve even if this work for guitar and string quartet is situated somewhere else if compared to that band. The territory is somehow that where generally you’re used to meet people like Fred Frith during some of his many contemporary trips but the compositional style plus the sound of Didkovsky are more noisy and I’d put in more severe. The music featured in this work has an high evocative impact and be it intentional or not the fact the cd opens with a sequence of notes really close to Morton Feldman's "triadic memories" (from "Crippled Symmetries") can give you an hint of the whole audio journey. The fact is that despite this similarity the music is considerably far from Feldman, just take the second track for solo electric guitar and computer: this music is more chaotic and noisy, it really reminded me of some old works by mighty Caspar Brotzmann when going less rock like in "Zulu time" where he teamed up with Page Hamilton. With the third episode the matter is more drone-oriented thought this guitarist's style slowly fuses with the string quartet, the magma is really well melted due to the fact every musician is using a talkbox thorough which they alter the sound of their instruments with the shape of their own mouths. The piece evolves gradually letting the string music come to surface, despite some really odd dissonances it reminds of some classic experimental composition by Maderna, Stockhausen or in the likes, the only difference is that the structure here is less fragmented and moves like a mantra from the outer space. "What sheep herd" offers something which probably would go really close to Giacinto Scelsi if he only would be still alive: it sounds like a monochord composition which owes so much to music coming from Asia. As you probably have guessed the final part of this work is more relaxed and silent and both the adjectives fits really well for the closing track where you have just the string quartet restrained and increasingly fading into silence. Didkovsky’s music is deeply influenced by some of the best composers hailing from the sixties and seventies, if you are into some Frith consider the last track has been appositely composed for his guitar quartet, the two musicians are not too similar, but you’ll probably find some interesting connections.

Artist: Mankind is Obsolete (@)
Title: Trapped Inside
Format: CD
Distributor: Mkio
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
Mankind is Obsolete is an amazing band hailing from Los Angeles. I discovered and seen recently live at The Nite Lite Cafe in Berwyn, Illinois. They put on an outstanding show and are playing all over the states and making history wherever they go. They are not signed yet but I can tell they will be in the nearer future. Trapped Inside is the name of the album and it is awesome all around. We open with track one " Awake " which is an upbeat track that is bouncy and alive. Nice guitar solo blending well wit melodic synths and Natashas sweet voice. Natashas sings, " The world whats asks for so much but leaves me worst than empty" " Is this all there is, theres nothing to see" makes us think about what mankind is really doing to exterminate this world. This track is sure to be a dance floor hit and a track to get the audience moving and groovin. She sings from the heart and soul with all members backing her singing their hearts out for a cry for help. Track two is " Picking at the Scab " which is a whimsical track that leaves us wanting more. Natasha sings, " So rip the bandage off to see what's underneath" " Picking at the scab to give me some relief." Real heavy lyrics at first then sweet sounding like a Tina Root in synth- phony then growling " but I still can't find relief " Hope, than no hope for this troubled soul singing her tragedies. Track three " Parasite " is another killer track on this album. A song that we can all relate to and share the same sentiment. Natasha sings, " The more I give the more you take, " " It's never enough, your feeding from me." With back up singing, " take it away." This track flows nicely and is hard driven and hard working on your psyche. It makes you think and feel her pain as we all feel pain from one that begged, borrowed and stealed our soul. I love this track and see it as another dance floor hit and a song to remember this band by. We proceed on to " Trapped Inside " and the title of the album is has almost punk beats and growls. It is a definate mosh-pit song and is designed for you to move your feet and go crazy to it. Natasha sings, " I'm trapped Inside " in repetition, letting you know the hell she is in. All and all the rest of the album proves to be angsty great fun and left me with a great impression and a thought that if Mankind if Obsolete, then we should all go down to our deaths with this band serenading our deaths. 4 stars ~ Michelle Russo
Artist: Espermachine
Title: Espermachine
Format: CD
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
Espermachine a trio of greatness hitting the ebm curcuit and taking the world by storm. This band has played such known places as Bar Sinister, Spellbound, The Church and the upcoming Masque and Veil Festival and all abroad. The music is a combination of darkwave and electro mixed with a catchy lines of methaphors and sassiness all wrapped up in one. This band is independent and not yet signed but need to be. I personally saw this band live recently at the Darkroom in Chicago and had to immediately review this cd for all it offered. This album was incredible and as we open and dissect it now you will see all it delivers to us. We open with track two " Dead Man Walking with hard crashing beats and James singing , " We are dead man walking, we are losing faith " then fades into synthbeats that carry the beat to dance obilivion. The we move and groove into track three, " These Crimes" which is a free flowing synthy pop dream that got me moving in my seat as I was writing this review. Jasper sings, " Everyday someones telling me what to believe " " Living life to it's final breath" Break beats carry the sounds and carry us into dark electro frenzy and take us away. Track five, " Shadows" stuck in my mind the most. This I believe will be a dance floor hit and will be played in all the clubs soon, if it hasn't already yet. The track is haunting and grows on up bit by bit. The more you listen to it the more it draws you near and dear to your heart. Jasper sounding like a dark deity coming out of the shadows tells the tale and tells it well of darkness. He sings, " The air is sick with karma" this line was the most inspiring me to me and moved me. Repeating, " Your Shadow " is chilling to the bone and seems like it's coming from under the floorboards. Lots of revervb and delay on this track and trancy and hypnotic like a drug. I saw this track perfomed live at the Darkroom in Chicago and it caused goosebumps up and down my spine, truely amazing! Another great song is track Eight, " Haunting You " which sounds a little like " My Beloved " and will be memorable in our minds. Jasper sings, " I search for you, I shadow you" " I'm guiding you, I'm haunted you." This track is haunting just like he is singing. It has great synthy bass lines and is loud and in your face but dark through all the light it shines. This track is proving itself to be perhaps another dance floor hit and possibly a reason to get this band signed. The last track nine " A Watery Grave " is a beautiful song that is mystical and moving. Jasper sings, " There is no where to go, we sit here in silence, Our bodies washed to the sea." Tales of death and isolation and dark tragedies. This album overall is a masterpiece and is showing us that poetry is not dead and long live the sos messages in the bottle, look within the bottle for the message for it is there and locked in sentiment in the vast deep ocean, do you dare to dive in ? 4 stars ~ Michelle Russo
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Artist: PNDC (@)
Title: Fading Away
Format: CD
Label: Listen Loudest / Slusaj Najglasnije
Rated: *****
Released by the Croatian D.I.Y. label Listen Loudest, FADING AWAY is the first album by Pndc (a.k.a. Pendrag Nedic). Member of the Serbian electronic ambient band Erogenius, Pendrag started working at some songs of his own in mid 2007, then he published some instrumental tracks on his myspace page. After receiving a good feedback he decided it was worth developing them. He was lucky enough to find a guy called Thanos (a.k.a. Housework) who was interested into collaborating by singing and writing lyrics. The fact is that Thanos not only is from Greece but he also lives there and the duo did everything through the net. The final result is really good and the particular electro wave songs produced, sound fresh and introspective. Listening to the album a couple of times I thought I was listening to an hybrid version of Bowie/Nick Cave dealing with dissonant electro-wave songs. Pendrag song construction seems to be always in search of a particular solution (sometimes experimenting also, like on "Oh my God it's true") which could make sound the song more interesting. At this purpose you can find reversed guitars, flangered bass guitar, catchy sinth lines, etc. The really deep and convincing vocals provided by Thanos are doing the rest and all these things make of FADE AWAY a perfect CD for whose who are needing something new into the new wave scene. Check some songs at the myspace link provided and you'll fall in love with "Disco disco" or "Pick up your tears". Mind that on the CD there aren't fill ins!
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