Archive for the ‘review’ Category

Song of the Bird

Tonight, Washington, DC’s 9.30 Club had the privilege of hosting the innovative multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and accomplished whistler, Andrew Bird, in on their stage. The club, instead of being filled with smoke, due to the Districts recent smoking ban, was saturated instead with the rich, gourmet tones of “Andrew Bird and the Z-Effect” or the “Electric Platypus,” as Bird christened his ensemble tonight.

andbird.jpgWhile the looping drum beats of percussionist, Martin Dosh, weaved themselves within each other, the maestro entered the stage adorned with black and white formal-wear, with the exception of a wrinkled, silver necktie. The crowd went up in applause as Bird picked up his violin and began to play. The club was engulfed in suffocating waves of violin, bass, and eventually segued into a fragile whistle.

After crafting a chaotic, yet beautiful overture to the evening’s program, Bird and his trio commenced in playing the flamenco-tinged song, “Imitosis,” from his latest album, Armchair Apocrypha. It was in this song Bird exhibited his command over his “looper,” a device that samples musical phrases and repeats them until a new phrase (or silence) is employed. Bird begins by plucking out a melody, then hammering the downbeats on top of the body, and finally welds them together with strains of harmony. And this is only the introduction.

Throughout a majority of the set, Bird alternates between violin, guitar, glockenspiel, and see n’ say, creating sounds only made possible by the embodiment of a four-armed deity. Though Bird is clearly not of divine descent, it is as though he channeled the quadri-armed elephant god, Ganesha, for these preternatural abilities. It is evident through the intricacy of Bird’s compositions, that this virtuoso aims for nothing but perfection, and achieves it with grace. The songs propel forward, as the trio “specializes in tempo,” but at their conclusions, often take on a sort of détente, and their melodies become less constricted, and more flowing architecture, resembling a feeling of satori, or enlightenment.

Andrew Bird takes on the impeccable technique of Joshua Bell, the aura of Ravi Shankar, and the jest of a child, blending it together to develop something that is solely belonging to himself. This space cadet has conquered his craft and continues to advance the musical frontier further and further.

Photographs and a recording of the May 20th show at the 9.30 Club are available at http://www.npr.org or in the link below. Andrew Bird is embarking on a European tour with Martin Dosh and Jeremy Ylvisaker, and returns to the US in July. Bird’s eight studio album, Armchair Apocrypha, is out now.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10213407

4.5/5 stars found @ http://www.musictap.net/Reviews/EmancipatorColdEnoughCD.html

Some albums just feel so good, so cool, you can’t help but feel good while listening to them.

Emancipator’s Soon It Will Be Cold Enough is such an album. Incorporating hints of jazz, electronica, trip-hop and down-tempo into its violins, keys, various samples and the occasional female voice, this 19-year-old college student has put together a release worthier of the attentions of a record label.

Good job Emanc! More:

The amount of work that went into this album is amazing. As Emancipator himself states, “ …instrumentation on the album was either played and recorded by myself, or was programmed from scratch using individual ‘oneshots,’ which are basically just recordings of single notes being played. Many of the melodies or bass lines were constructed in this way – by pitch shifting and moving around individual sounds like sound legos.”

Props to Emancipator! Buy/listen to the CD at his myspace.

Jeff Eaton Over a period of five years, Modern Life Is War have mesmerized audiences from dimly lit, punk-house basements to venues with capacities of 1200 sweaty bodies. Their premier and sophomore albums, My Love. My Way, and Witness, feature aggressive, melodic hardcore, complete with formulaic three-chorded opuses and Holden Caulfield-inspired librettos, only no hunting hats and way more slam dancing. Their latest effort, Midnight In America, attempts to achieve something nonexistent in their previous releases: Maturity.

The band tries to extend itself not by abstaining from lyrics of woeful adolescence and the oppressive forces of Marshalltown, Iowa, but more so within the musical fabric of the album. Midnight is by far Modern Life Is War’s most musically complex album that they have released yet, containing more riffs, more harmonies, and more time changes.

Setting his words ablaze, singer Jeff Eaton introduces Midnight with a preamble resembling a monstrous wave. The guitars throw the tempo into high gear, taking the drums with them into a dizzying spin of grind-influenced ostinatoes. The song is in an odd time signature, a glitzy sign of sophistication, apt to disorient any two-stepping dancer at a show into a fit of befuddlement.

The track begins to decelerate, displaying a different type of intensity, greatly contrasting to the likes of sing-a-longs like, “D.E.A.D. R.A.M.O.N.E.S” or “Yesterday’s Trash.” It is as if the record is a 78 lagging along the 33 rpm setting on a turntable. The pace’s ebb unfortunately obscures the ferocity that is there.

Despite the doldrums that pass through the album, Midnight does have a fair set of passionate anthems that are greatly enhanced with one fist swinging in the air. The tunes “Fuck The Sex Pistols,” and “Pendulum” gyrate the LP into a mode of ballsiness, more reminiscent of Modern Life Is War’s days as punk-rock D’ebutants. MLIW prove to stay tough, proud, hard, and finish the album with a level of elegantly constructed fury.

MLIW will start their fall tour on at the end of August and will be seen with fellow acts Ruiner, Young Widows, and Sick Of It All. You can buy Midnight In America at http://www.modernlifeiswar.net, as well as check out updates and other cool swag.

Outerspace

mmmfinal-copy.jpg The drums enter the track, resembling the crash of a brick being banged against a wall of plexiglass. That is exactly what this album sounds like from beginning to end. Something completely synthesized, unnatural and raw down to the marrow. The opening track off of Mass Movement of the Moth’s full-length is called, “Idle Minds Speak In Binary,” continuing the trend of artificiality, while embracing and releasing all human emotion as evident through the relentlessness of the album’s intensity.

As the album progresses, it becomes apparent that this band knows no one identity. In fact, it is as if the album was written by a firing squad of schizophrenics, harassed by transparent demons, composed of rusted nails and falafel (See “Riddle Me 666″), but still maintaining a steady enough aim to hit this album through the atmosphere.

The Washington, DC band has morphed throughout its existence. Originally playing more grind derived tunes as heard on their EP splits with bands Polar and Sing! Sing! Prison, the Moth’s evolution is easily detected when listening to their more recent releases, like the split LP Two Thousand And Six Six Six, with psychedelic grunge group, The Catalyst.

Mass Movement has been featured in Alternative Press magazine as a band to watch, as well as played in venues like the Warehouse Next Door and the Black Cat in the District and throughout the United States. They will be performing at Fort Reno on Monday, June 18th, with the Deleted Scenes and The Boom Orangutangs. The opening band will play at 7.15. See http://www.fortreno.com for more details. This is not a show to miss.

You can hear some of MMM’s tracks at:

http://www.mmmbrains.com

http://www.myspace.com/massmovementofthemoth