Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Album Review: Walking Far From Home EP, Iron And Wine


By: Captain Pownzor

When I started to listen to the new Iron and wine EP Walking Far From Home from the very first track I was sort of taken aback. This is certainly not the lo-fi folk I have associated with the name at all. It really is walking far out of the Iron and Wine comfort zone.

Shepherds’ Dog had its share of layering and complexity to its songs as compared to the bands earlier hits like “Naked As We Came and Such Great Heights.” This EP however has branched out even further incorporating a more full sound from the traditional Iron and Wine’s whispy vocals and folkie guitars.

The title track
starts with some crazy organ effects ringing like a gospel choir in church and turns into a song in an almost Broken Social Scene sort of style. Full voices twinkling chimes and a very different entity and the makings of what could be a interesting turn for Iron and Wine.

Summer in Savanah
is not the strongest track on the EP, Its sort of a funky. With a persistent bassline throughout almost like a police song reborn. Somehow this song is catchy in its own right with a hook and attitude to the vocal styling and less of a folkie feel.

Biting Your Tail
starts off with some weird sound effects samples and turns into a feel good clap along. This could be radio song! Not many iron and wine songs would go on popular music radio and this is certainly one of the first.

Overall this EP is a fairly big change to the Iron and Wine Style. Shepherd’s Dog Eluded that maybe a change like this was coming, but now that I have heard some of these new tracks I am interested to hear what is going to happen on the next feature length. Hopefully the Iron and Wine we know and love from The Creek Drank the Cradle isn’t dead yet though.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Album Review: Atlas Air EP, Massive Attack


By Captain Pownzor

Massive attack recently released a short Ep for War Child featuring remixes of the final track from Heligoland as well as a remix of a new track called Redlight. I decided to give it a listen. With Heligoland being featured on major shows like Hbo’s Trueblood and the success the band has had with songs like Teardrop and Angel, I wanted to see what these new remixes would be like as well as get an inkling of the future material.
The remixes aren’t bad overall. Tastefully done and not over sampling or taking away from the song. Ive got to say this the whole of the mix is bass heavy but not a bottom out your speakers heavy. It’s a really clear sounding thump, good for a nice night cruise to set the mood. Your subs will get a good workout. Jneiro Jarel’s Lavender Remix of Atlas Air is smooth as glass whereas the Goldworthy Remix is more of a slow build to a club thumper.

As for the new track Redlight, well I am certainly interested to hear this one when the new feature length album comes out. The Clark Remix of Redlight offers up a few short samples of the song’s dreamy vocals with an ongoing and very catchy melody. If it is any indication Massive Attack is holding onto some fantastic stuff for their next full length album.

As a whole for this EP, there really isn’t a massive change going on. The remixes just kind of fit up to Heligoland and blend with it. A great remix can overshadow the original. Although these are interesting takes on Atlas Air, they are so slight in their differences to the original its just not enough to make me want to recommend it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Album Review: All Day, Girl Talk


By Captian Pownzor

So I heard amazing things about the new girl talk album and decided to take a quick listen for myself. Ive never been much for mash-ups, but then again I have known Gregg Gillis is one of the best men to see when it comes to the subject. I always kind of tacked up the mash-up as a mindless copy and pasting of audio samples. But this is an entirely different entity. Girl Talk does it up right.

From the opening riff of Oh no sound washed over me with some amazing sense of nostalgia. So many great songs in one. Opening with Black Sabbath's
War Pigs, samplings from The Ramones, Blitzkrieg Bop. Jesus Christ this song is just my jam. Its rock/punk music with great popular tracks from the past year included in it. A masterpiece even in the first track and the best part that this and 12 other tracks are completely free to download here.

If you want to remember the 90’s and classic 80’s mixed with just about every popular contribution in hip hop from the past 3 decades your in for a treat. This is just mashupalicious including so many samples in each song even if you start to hate it your soon to enjoy it in another 20 seconds.

To review individual tracks wouldn’t simply do justice. Each one has about a million different little grooves to it. In fact if they were to play it at a club and try to get people to dance to it all you would see is a seizure in the crowd. Its danceable but at times it seems only for moments. Its like “yeah this my jam!” but its over as soon as it starts. I could also see some awkward moments like how it may queer the deal when I'm dancing up on that special someone to a sample of Radiohead’s
Creep on the track Jump on Stage. The same song featuring Iggy Pop vs. Lady Gaga and just about everyone else.

In the end this isn’t an album to over think or review in depth. It is a great piece of nostalgia and its beautifully put together. Stuff I would imagine clashing hugely is pieced together with ease. I can say this All day is primarily a circus of an album, hilarious at times at the sheer absurdity of the mash-ups and it caused me to have a smile plastered across my face through the whole listen.

So there you have it, yet another music blogger raving about the new Girl talk album, but at this point I really don’t care. Gillis has created a truly fun and creative ride through many genres of music and many different generations. It deserves mention and free sharing amongst friends. Good thing anyone can download it for free anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Album Review: The Moment, Atomic Tom


By: Captain Pownzor

Some time ago I saw a neat youtube video from the New York based band Atomic Tom. They performed their lead single
Take me out using nothing but 4 iphones and some apps, live on a New York subway train. The strange thing is they made it sound really good.

Needless to say when browsing new releases and I saw the name I jumped at the chance to give the album a listen. It has been out online since July but their debut album
The Moment is to be released in stores Nov 22nd.

The opening few songs are OK. Loosely sounding of an Adam Lamberty sort of thing. Turn off your brain, simple toe tapping not full on making me want to shake my ass like George Michael.

The title track is a slower ballad. As well, the song Red Light Warning Sign is like a Fall Out Boy impersonation minus the clever lyrics. These are great qualities for Atomic Tom’s sex appeal but not so much for a listener like me.

Which brings me to We Were Never Meant to be. A monkey wrench in the whole album. With techno elements, strings, a wicked breakdown and an amazing showcase of Luke White’s vocals this song breaks free of the blah that seems to be there in many of the other songs.

The final song on the album
This is How we Like to End. Is somewhat of an anomaly as well. Closing the album almost bitter-sweetly. Starting off slow building into another big blast of guitars, voice and strings, and then ending on a soft note. After hearing this track it made me go right back to the beginning again.

The Album overall isn’t too bad. Some of the songs on the album have hit material and radio playability (You Always Get What You Want, Take me out, ) The problem is the songs that are not stand out hits are just not going to raise eyebrows so much. This album is great for its singles and a few other notable songs such as
We Were Never Meant to be as well as the final track This is How we Like to End.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Album Review: Dogs Blood EP, Alexisonfire


By: Captain Pownzor

Having heard no new stuff from Alexisonfire for about a year since the release of old crows/young cardinals, I was pretty excited when I heard they were going to be releasing an EP in Nov of 2010. So I gave er a listen and these were my impressions.

Dogs Blood: Starting off pure hardcore original Alexisonfire sound. This song is loud fast and thrashy. Makes me miss the sweet, sweet cry of Dallas greens voice to get me out of the chaos. Luckily he soars over the ending guitar riffs and into the outro of the song. A mixture of the old harder Alexisonfire and the new age stuff we heard on old crows. Great starter track and the only one Dallas green appears in.

Grey: Starts off with a hell of a bass riff. Sort of bluesy rhythm. Its crazy to hear the fusion of the hardcore elements with such an old style rock riff. The bridge riffs are nothing but astounding Alexisonfire style as usual.

Black as Jet: Intro riff sounds like something out of Tokyo police club but then I’m blown away with sound. Solid drums in this fast paced loud as hell track.

Vex: The instrumental wonderment. Cool stuff even without any vocals, think of this as one of their slow jams. It sounds a bit like explosions in the sky with a headache and some serious balls murdering children across a Chuckie Cheese.

So there you have it, dogs blood ep, new Alexisonfire whereby Dallas Green is only on one song. It seems refreshing to hear some of these new songs. I especially liked the gritty nature of the new Alexisonfire stuff. Its getting away from that constant George/ Dallas dynamic for vocals they have done for so long. This is certainly a different entity from the last full length and I am interested to see what the new, full length album will be like.

Album Review: 5.0, Nelly



When the Captain put 5.0 down on my desk and said, “review it.” I was blown away.

Nelly has a new album?

I was expecting to be transported back to high school. Back to the days of Country Grammar, Ride Wit Me and E.I., Hell, I’d settle for Pimp Juice.

I prepared myself for some senseless, sexy, mostly silly songs. I was pleasantly surprised when Just a Dream came on.

The intro riff made me double check to make sure I was listening to Nelly. When his vocals kicked in, it was unmistakably Nelly, but not Air Force Ones Nelly, this was Over and Over Nelly. Remember that tune? Nelly and Timmy?

“She was so easy to love, but wait, I guess that love wasn’t enough,” yup, this is defiantly not the same Nelly that rapped about his shoe collection.

Sure, Making Movies is about sex and nothing. But it is still a nice slow jam that sounds like a love song. Despite saying, “I tried to get my Usher on but I couldn’t let it burn,” in the for mentioned Just a Dream, that seems to be exactly what Nelly is doing with 5.0, and I like it.

The point of these albums is to get radio play, and dance floor play and Nelly has nailed both markets on the head perfectly. Liv Tonight is going to have people shaking it and looking like idiots in bars everywhere very soon. It isn’t my favourite song on the album, but after a few drinks, I can see myself moving to this tune. Or at least, pump a fist to it.

5.0 is far from what I expect from a Nelly album, which is a good thing. The combination of slow jams about lost love and sex dance tracks and a few raunchy pure rap tunes keeps 5.0 interesting throughout all 12 tracks, 46 min.

The two most disappointing things about this outing is the annoying as hell chorus on Broke, and that he has a track called I’m Number One. This disappointed me so much because Number One was one of my favourite Nelly songs. I saw it and thought it might be a rehash, remix or just re-release of this classic track, instead it is one of the more forgettable tracks on the album.

5.0 isn’t going to light anyone’s world on fire, but if it were released in the summer, some tracks would be huge. Sadly, it’s cold and getting colder. Not only is 5.0 going on my iPod, but I am digging out my old Nelly albums too.

You will know him from his very definable voice. You will hear him in the club. And I do think you will enjoy him. Bravo, Nelly. Bravo.

P.S. For the record, Nelly did fall short of Usher. But come on, Usher sets a high bar for slow jams and club tracks.

Check Out: Just A Dream, Liv Tonight, and Nothing With Out Her.

Album Review: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West



Apparently Kanye West treats money like the government treats AIDS, he isn’t going to be satisfied until all the niggers have it. Yup, sounds like West is still a little miffed at Bush’s “racist” response to Katrina, and also is heavy into government conspiracies.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard a line about crack-cocaine being created by the government to bring down the black community, I didn’t, but I wouldn’t have been surprised.

What did catch me off guard with West’s newest album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was how much I enjoyed it.

Normally I would start a review of a hip-hop album by saying I don’t really listen to the genre, but recently I have been listening to a lot of it, and some high quality hip-hop at that. So, I feel I am in the right mood to pass judgment.

Fantasy is full of tracks you are bound to hear on the dance floor. This could be taken as a good thing (they will be played a lot and you all will sing along) or it can be looked at as being pre-packaged, easily marketable radio-friendly unit shifters. I’m not going to land on either side of the track. I will just say, for the most part, West’s efforts are enjoyable.

The track Dark Fantasy literally made me laugh out loud with lines such as, “So much head, I woke up to Sleepy Hollow” (the first of two Sleepy Hallow references on the album) and, one of my favourite lines on the album, “too many Urkels on your team, that’s why your wins low.” That’s right, a Family Matters reference. That is automatically win.

Of course, for each clever line, for each witty quip, West supplies a bull-headed, self indulgent, simply put, stupid line. But again, this is to be expected with not only a hip-hop album (it can’t be 100% genius) but most importantly, to be expected by West himself (if you live under a rock and don’t know West is an idiot, I implore you to follow him on Twitter.)

I have made it six paragraphs deep in a blog about West without mentioning Taylor Swift’s speech, but I have to mention the beautiful young pop star, even though I said I wouldn’t, because the interlude for the song All of the Lights (listen for it on a dance floor near you) sounds like it belongs on a Swift album rather than a hip-hop album.

Fantasy is full of samples and guest appearances, again, the norm for hip-hop albums and West. But one of the best examples of this, and my favourite track on the album, is Lost in the World, which features Woods by Bon Iver. Yes, THAT Bon Iver.

The track seems to be West reaching out and saying, “Hey, slightly overweight white guy sipping on a beer at the club, yeah you! DANCE!”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lol Music's New Rating System

Hello Internet,

This is Captain Pownzor of Lol music. It has come to my attention that in our reviews LoL music has been missing a quintessential part of what it truly means to review music in the truest form of music bloggery.

A universal rating system for our reviews.

"oh shoot" I responded when I realized this terrible error in our format.

So for months we toyed around and tested with some rating systems to perfect our own. We tried stars, they were pointy. We tried gold records which were way too flashy. We tried boners but that was just way too sexist. We just couldn't agree on a rating system that could express our feelings towards music properly. So with limited options we decided to come up with our own revolutionary rating system.

The fraction

Specifically one with a denominator of

That's right henceforth when we write a review for a song or an album or whatever, your probably going to see a fraction attached to it.

Don't be afraid of this mathematical jargon, its fairly easy to determine.

Our feelings towards a song will be represented fractionally as follows:

0/5 rating for Lol music would, upon listening to the track make us feel like we were listening to a pair of alley-cats being beaten by our grandmother while she has loud intercourse with a vuvuzela. (If we give a band this rating they should consider never playing music again, the song we are listening to is just gross).

As a second example, the
2.5/5 rating is in the best sense of any word a "Meh"

Alternately, a
5/5 rating is nothing short of what is known in the review business as an EARGASM (If we give a band this rating we want to bear their children).

Anything in between is really just a sliding scale so interpret it as you will.

Fractions, Fractions, Fractions. A beautiful, original and absolutely not a cop-out rating system in any way shape or form, brought to you first by the creative minds at LoL music.

Stay tuned for reviews featuring our new and revolutionary "Fraction Ratings" in reviews.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Concert Review: The Morning Benders: Big Echo Tour

By: Captain Pownzor
Staff Blogger

Well hello, been a good long time since I posted yet again. I saw a concert over the past weekend that made me decide to write a lil’ something about what I ended up seeing and hearing this past Friday at The Mod Club in Toronto ON.
First of all let me start by saying I knew of The Morning Benders when I was asked to go, I was just not a rabid fan or anything. But from what I have heard there isn’t exactly a rabid fan following as it is, we did in fact run into the band at coffee before the show, only one of us recognizing them. I had seen them on La Blogeteque and heard some of the songs off Big Echo, so I said why not and went along to see what they were like live.
So on the way we were joking a bit about the openers. The first of which was called Oberhofer. We were thinking from the name they could be a German folk band, we couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Oberhofer is a 4 piece noisy indie rock outfit from Brooklyn. Think of a dreamier version of The Hives, complete with some elaborate whistling solos and even some almost devilish howling and screaming you would expect around some kind of native drum circle. They are simple stripped down, loud and fun. To see a band walk on stage at 6:30 erupt into the first song and just make such a joyous racket was certainly something to see. Could use a little work on maintaining the sound quality live, its a little ragged compared to their studio stuff. But they went on and had fun, as a result so did the sparse early going members of the audience and I. Probably the most memorable song of the set was "away frm u". The long pause before the opening riff that made everyone turn around from the bar and drop a jaw. Without much fuss Oberhofer was over not long after they started. Showing the true nature of a small tour Oberhofer tore down their equipment and carted it out before setting in at the bar to watch the other supporting act, Twin Sister.
Before the show I had eluded to how badass it would be if Twin Sister was a Twisted sister cover band. I’m gonna be harsh, It would have been probably more entertaining to see than what Twin Sister turned out to be.
Twin Sister is a 5 piece experimental pop band from Long island New York. Really not my cup of tea overall. Twin sister came across as lounge music. Their setup was massive, even larger so than the morning benders and it was to produce something close to a drab whimper of a tune. The band was emotionless, barely moving like they themselves were waiting in the elevator listening to the music they were playing. I gave a second chance listen on youtube and I must say the studio stuff is not so bad, I do however expect to be entertained a little when I am seeing the material live. Lead singer kept trying to overplay the lo-fi material and turn it into some otherworldly bjork style thing. Naw friends..only bjork can be as freaky as bjork just leave that one alone.
Leading me to the Morning benders, setting their own shit up as a band, no crazy introduction no insane Elvis music buildup no. Just 4 dudes from San Francisco getting up on stage setting their own equipment up and checking their own mics. Then just letting it rip. I have to say every single song that was done was so tight it was like album quality. The morning benders must either be robots or practice until they could play every song with both hands and blindfolded. For a small venue lighting was much more elaborate than I had expected, the band used blinding strobe lights, a giant wall behind them and even a bubble machine throughout the show. The phrase “More bubbles” could be heard quite often with the band in control of when it was let loose. Vocals for every song were spot on and the band showed great energy throughout the whole set. Finishing off with "excuses" the entire crowd sang along and could be heard echoing the chorus even out into the streets after the show was done. Although it was not a crazy mosh pit infused jump around type show. It was incredibly tight and exciting to watch. The pure showmanship and the ability to recreate the songs in a better than album quality is something that is a rare find in a performer since the dawn of digital recording and the dreaded auto-tune. It was hard to not feel like one of those crazy beatniks just grooving out to how good they sounded live. The Morning Benders Big Echo Tour is a reasonable ticket to go and see a great live show. I would recommend it to anyone and if they ever come back to my area again I will be in line for a ticket as well.

photo courtesy of Janelle Scriver Photograpy

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