WXOU is happy to present a pre-release stream of Oberhofer’s new album, “Chronovision.” Enjoy!
WXOU is happy to present a pre-release stream of Oberhofer’s new album, “Chronovision.” Enjoy!
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
I’m In Your Mind Fuzz
By: William Georges
King Lizard and the Gizzar…errr Wizard and The Lizard’s Gizard? KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD! This psychedelic rock outfit hails from Victoria, Australia. This band, whose name sounds like a strain of some bad drug, is relatively new to most people’s ears despite having a 5 album discography. Two of these five albums were released in 2014, the latter being I’m In Your Mind Fuzz.
The album starts out with three songs that display incredible continuity (“I’m In Your Mind,” “I’m Not In Your Mind,” “Cellophane”). If you didn’t pay attention to the track list, you probably wouldn’t think the songs changed to the next. The first track opens up with fast-paced snare drumming backed by a forward guitar melody and a fast-paced, bouncy bass guitar. Towards the end of the opening track these eerie warped, noises that sound like they were taken from an old episode of Scooby Doo accompany the extremely lush sound of a harmonica. Not only do these tracks achieve beautiful continuity, extremely rich instrumental composition and a driving force of forward paced rhythm, they are seasoned with the lead singer’s drug addled vocals, whose voice bubbles just above the surface of coherency for the audience.
The album breaks its momentum on the track “Empty”, with its hypnotic and looped instrumental, sounding like a mashup of crunchy low-fi guitar, flute, and organ. When you think you’ve been surprised enough by not only the creativity of the instruments and licks, the flute-led song “Hot Water” ushers in a soothing landscape with the lead singer injecting his voice into whispers all over the track.
Finishing up the album are the tracks “Satan Speeds Up” and “Her & I (Slow Jam II).” By its title you might think “Satan Speeds Up” is a sign that the band might be taking itself a tad serious, thankfully KG&TLW fools you. Though the melody on this song hits its darkest and bluesy-ist and the lyrics existential “Every life is like a song that takes forever to be sung” and accusing Satan of spreading slander to loved ones behind his back, the content feels inherently good-willed through conveying the genuine aimlessness and sorrow of a young adult. “Her & I (Slow Jam II)” closes the album with a creamy Latin Jazz sound with spurts of dwindling, spiraling noises that rain down on the track over lyrics like, “Her will will shine, from up above/ fill her heart with a lot of love, so the sun can shine a little brighter on her and I.”
Much of this album can be easily overlooked the first few times through with its distracting and awesome composition of instruments that flood the entirety of the work. What makes this album shine a little brighter are the smaller details that come along with multiple listens
With some of the boldest and most invigorating sounds psychedelic rock has heard since Merriweather Post Pavillion, I’m In Your Mind Fuzz stands triumphantly among sitting peers.
Start with: “Cellophane”, “Hot Water”, “Her & I (Slow Jam II)”
Similar artists: Animal Collective, Tame Impala, Foxygen
Everything Will Be Alright In The End
By: Kevin Hawthorne (@KevinHawthorne3)
“It’s not as good as Blue or Pinkerton!”
Weezer has had this yelled at them by nostalgic fans every time they release a new record, and in many ways it’s very unfair. Those albums were made in a very different time for singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the band. Back in 1994 when their debut album was released, Weezer were an unknown band, then were suddenly catapulted to super-stardom, only to realize they don’t quite belong. Those feelings aren’t easily recreated, however that doesn’t excuse Weezer’s output since 2005’s Make Believe. The Green Album and Maladroit were solid fun albums, but after Make Believe through Hurley in 2011, Weezer delved into self-parody, especially on 2009’s god-awful Raditude.
After four albums of disappointments, many Weezer fans gave up. But now, Weezer have surprised everyone by releasing Everything Will Be Alright In The End. With the Blue and Green Album producer Ric Ocasek at the helm, Weezer have delivered their best album since 2002’s Maladroit. Fuzzy guitars are everywhere, replacing the sheen of the past few records, and instead of having awful lyrics like “The Girl Got Hot” or “Beverly Hills,” Weezer gives some heartfelt (but still endearingly corny) performances. “I couldn’t put in a novel, I wrote a page but it was awful,” from “Da Vinci” is particularly great.
Since Raditude, Weezer has been using co-songwriters, and while they’ve had very mixed results, the ones chosen for Everything Will Be… are excellent. Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast co-wrote (and sings a duet with Cuomo) on the excellent “Go Away”. However, the best collaboration on record is the contribution made by Titus Andronicus front man Patrick Stickles. “Foolish Father” is a heartbreaking rocker that is everything you’ve wanted from Weezer in the past 12 years wrapped into one song. This album also proves that Cuomo can still write fine tunes himself: the huge riff driven “Ain’t Got Nobody”, the epic march of“The British Are Coming” and the album closing “Futurescope” suite of “I. The Waste Land, II. Anonymous and III. Return To Ithaka” are highlights of the album, “III. Return To Ithaka” being the most ambitious Weezer has done in years.
The guitar work shreds on this record. This makes some of the weaker tracks like “Cleopatra” and “I’ve Had It Up To Here” much more fun to listen to, and the good tracks an absolute joy.
There problems on this record, some tracks,mentioned above, are much weaker and there a few “huh?” moments like the opening whistle to “Da Vinci”, though it grows on you admittedly, and the trying-too-hard-to-cash-in-on rocking out like’s it 94 nostalgia in “Back To The Shack.”
In the end everything is alright (I’m sorry, I’ll show my self out) and Weezer has made an incredibly fun and listenable record. Is at as good as The Blue Album or Pinkerton? No, those records can’t be recreated and we need to stop comparing every Weezer album to those two. Weezer has made the best record they’ve made in years so take off your headphones, stop being blinded by nostalgia and enjoy it.
Volumes No Sleep By: Neil Hazel (@iamneilhazel) 7/15/14 It has been three years since Los Angeles based metal act Volumes put out their debut LP VIA. It is clear that the band has taken that time to carefully refine their sound for their sophomore effort, No Sleep. One of the things that makes Volumes stand out is their use of two screaming vocalists. This allows Volumes to keep the vocal sections of their songs interesting throughout the whole CD. When the two vocalists go back and forth in sections of songs, it gives off an almost hip-hop like feel to the heavy tracks. There’s also an abundant use of clean vocals on several of the songs such as “Across The Bed”, that fit well with Volumes use of hard-hitting breakdowns and ambient guitar leads. One of the best aspects of No Sleep is how balanced it feels. Listening from start to finish feels like a really complete experience. Tracks move from heavy head-bangers like “The Mixture” and “Neon Eyes” to smooth, clean guitar led songs like “Erased” effortlessly. Combining both heavy and clean aspects within almost every track keeps the CD interesting. The only downside of the meticulous effort that Volumes put into each song is that we are only given ten tracks, two of which are instrumentals. “Vahle” is one of the standout tracks, featuring some of the slickest guitar leads on the album, coupled with a very catchy, clean chorus. No Sleep is an album that is both intricate and easy to listen to. Volumes have cemented themselves as a standout band in the metal scene. Even though it is only their second release, the band has hit their stride and improved greatly upon their prior work. If you’re looking for emotionally driven metal that will have you banging your head and singing along, then give this a listen. Let’s just hope that we don’t have to wait another three years for more. 4/5
Once More ‘Round The Sun
By: Neil Hazel
When you want to just throw up your metal horns and headbang your troubles away, Mastodon has always been a band that can deliver. With their sixth release, Once More ‘Round The Sun Mastodon brings the metal once again. Mastodon produces a massive sound for only having four members. The bass is heavy and solid, the guitars are smooth, the riffs are sick, and the drums are crisp and tight, with just enough flair to stand out in sections. All four members of Mastodon provide vocals throughout the 11 tracks on the CD, keeping things interesting not just from song to song, but also within each song. It does seem however, that the group has left behind some of the more ferocious screams from their early albums for more radio-friendly singing. Songs like “The Motherload” contain downright catchy choruses that will have you wanting to sing along after the first listen.
That isn’t to say that Mastodon has left behind their old, sludge metal sound. “High Road” maintains that heaviness, while still adding in the cleanly sung sections. While Mastodon has always been a popular metal act, Once More ‘Round The Sun is their most radio-friendly work to date, and while this may turn off some old school Mastodon fans, it is still a solid metal album. Tracks like “Feast Your Eyes” and “Aunt Lisa” will probably appeal to more traditional metal fans. Feast Your Eyes moves at a brisk and heavy pace and contains a cool little riff section in the middle, highlighted by great bass tone. “Aunt Lisa” is one of the more interesting tracks, containing guest vocals from all-female Atlanta punk group The Coat Hangers. Use of trippy guitar and vocal effects make the track a fun song to listen to. The song ends with a chant of “Hey, oh, Let’s get up and Rock n’ Roll”, which may seem like a strange inclusion, but actually fits really well with the rest of the song.
Once More ‘Round The Sun is an extremely solid album, it just doesn’t seem like it’s taking a huge step forward for the band. The songs are still heavy, the solos still rock and in terms of technical ability, Mastodon are still some of the best musicians playing right now. While it may not be what long-time Mastodon fans were hoping for, it is an album that most metal fans will enjoy.
3.75/5 Massive Tusks
Every Time I Die
From Parts Unknown
By: Neil Hazel (@iamneilhazel)
Every Time I Die are no strangers to writing fast-paced, in-your-face metal, and with their seventh full length “From Parts Unknown” the Buffalo, New York group manages to innovate while staying true to their roots. The first track “The Great Secret” sets a pace for an album that is full of relentlessly pounding drums, and hard-hitting riffs. Vocalist Keith Buckley seamlessly floats from guttural screams, to soulful singing. The album moves at a brisk pace, with every track guaranteed to have you banging your head along with guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley’s grizzly riffs and chords. Bassist Stephen Micciche is constantly on point, filling out the tracks with a solid, heavy bass tone and drummer Ryan Leger doesn’t let up for a second over the 12-track album.
After one of the quickest and most ruthless tracks “If There Is Room To Move, Things Move”, Every Time I Die slows things down, but it is no less entertaining. “Moor” begins with a tense, eerie piano piece accompanied by Buckley’s haunting vocals. The track slowly builds up, moving like a train heading towards an inevitable crash. When the drums and guitar hit, it is one of the most satisfyingly heavy songs on the album. With the track “Old Light”, The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon is recruited to sing the catchy, head nodding chorus. His vocals fit perfectly in between the growls and roars of Buckley during the verses. The album is closed out by the viscous track “Idiot”, leaving the listener both exhausted and wanting more.
From Parts Unknown harkens back to Every Time I Die’s early releases like Hot Damn! and Last Night in Town, and with that has cemented itself as one of Every Time I Die’s most aggressive releases to date. The group did not forget the country elements that they’ve incorporated into their more recent albums. Just like Buckley’s vocals, the guitars and drums move in between thrash and country from second to second. It seems that Every Time I Die has found a sweet spot in between the old and the new and leaves something that every metal fan can find to enjoy. From punk, to thrash, southern to metalcore, From Parts Unknown clearly shows that after seven releases, Every Time I Die is not slowing down any time soon.